How do jobs numbers work?

Rob Green/Bergman Group

Article Highlights

  • If life were simple, net #jobs gained and #unemployment rate would move in lockstep

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  • Unemployment rate does not account for those who are underemployed

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  • How do jobs numbers work?

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Americans are intensely interested in the state of the job market but trying to get a good sense of it recalls the story of the blind men describing an elephant by feeling it. The description depends on which part is felt. Without attempting a tusk-to-tail description of job statistics, here is a rough guide to the much-discussed numbers.

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About the Author

 

Philip I.
Levy
  • Philip I. Levy's work in AEI's Program in International Economics ranges from free trade agreements and trade with China to antidumping policy. Prior to joining AEI, he worked on international economics issues as a member of the secretary of state's Policy Planning Staff. Mr. Levy also served as an economist for trade on the President's Council of Economic Advisers and taught economics at Yale University. He writes for AEI's International Economic Outlook series.

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  • Email: philip.levy@aei.org

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