Economy

Why the unemployment rate and jobless claims could be misleading

The variety of people submitting first-time claims for state unemployment advantages fell sharply final week, with a complete of 730,000 new claims for the week ended Feb. 20, the Department of Labor reported.

The unemployment rate has additionally been falling, dropping to six.3% in January.


Signs of enchancment in the labor market could create the look that the economic system is gaining energy amid rising vaccinations for Covid-19. Experts warn, nonetheless, that specializing in just one metric — like the headline unemployment rate — will not inform the entire story.

“It doesn’t tell you what the pain is in the labor market completely,” mentioned Rebecca Dixon, government director of the National Employment Law Project. “It’s only telling you about folks who are actively available and looking for work in the last four weeks or so.

“So for people who’ve been discouraged and given up, they are not going to be counted there,” she said. “And it is also not going to depend the people who had their hours decreased and are working part-time as a result of that is all that is accessible to them.”

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also has a history of “misclassification errors” by which staff are mistakenly counted as employed quite than unemployed. 

For instance, in the May 2020 jobs report, the unemployment rate with out any such error would have been nearer to 16.3%, a giant distinction from the 13.3% rate reported.

Watch the video to seek out out what occurred and uncover how to take a look at the knowledge to get a extra complete view of unemployment in the U.S.

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