Unemployment rate update

There’s been modest improvement in the job market, with both jobs increasing and the jobless rate decreasing slightly. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden provides a snapshot of where we stand.

“Well … last month we had about 100,000 net new jobs created nationally. Now when I say net new, I mean that every month we have some jobs destroyed, some jobs created. So this was a net plus, which is good. We had the headline — what we call headline unemployment rate — fall from 8.2 to 8.1 percent.

“Now as we’ve talked before, there are many issues with that unemployment rate. So let me give you some other rates: If you look at people who are without a job and also include people who are not counted as unemployed in that first rate because they’ve stopped looking for work, so-called discouraged workers, the current unemployment rate based on that definition is 9.6 percent. It is down a full percentage point however from a year ago.

“And then lastly if you include also as unemployed those folks who say they are working but they are working part-time because they can’t find full-time work, that unemployment rate is going to be much higher. It’s 14.7 percent, but it’s also down from a year ago. It’s down 1.5 percentage points.

“So, we’re making progress, but it’s very, very slow progress, and all of these unemployment rates are much higher than anyone would like.”

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