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Rate Of Unemployment In The Us

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Unemployment In The United States

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Unemployment in the United States discusses the causes and measures of U.S. unemployment and strategies for reducing it. Job creation and unemployment are affected by factors such as economic conditions, global competition, education, automation, and demographics. These factors can affect the number of workers, the duration of unemployment, and wage levels.

What Is The Relationship Between Initial Claims And The Unemployment Rate And Why Might It Be Different Now

The number of people receiving UI and the number counted as unemployed do tend to move in the same direction, but there is no formal link between the two. The only criteria for being counted as unemployed are that you are without a job and that you have actively searched for work or are on temporary layoff. You dont need to be collecting unemployment insurance to be counted as unemployed. And some people are eligible to collect partial unemployment insurance benefits if they are working but have been assigned a schedule that is far below their usual weekly hours.

Many people who become unemployed do not apply for UI benefits, either because they are not eligible or because they choose not to apply. So initial claims typically understate the number of people becoming unemployed in a given week. That said, there are people who file an initial claim and are not counted as unemployed in the CPS. This could happen if a person doesnt meet the CPS criteria for being unemployedfor instance, if they file for UI because their work schedule was reduced, or if the person has a very short spell of unemployment which is not captured in the CPS .

How Do I Apply

To receive unemployment insurance benefits, you need to file a claim with the unemployment insurance program in the state where you worked. Depending on the state, claims may be filed in person, by telephone, or online.

  • You should contact your state’s unemployment insurance program as soon as possible after becoming unemployed.
  • Generally, you should file your claim with the state where you worked. If you worked in a state other than the one where you now live or if you worked in multiple states, the state unemployment insurance agency where you now live can provide information about how to file your claim with other states.
  • When you file a claim, you will be asked for certain information, such as addresses and dates of your former employment. To make sure your claim is not delayed, be sure to give complete and correct information.
  • It generally takes two to three weeks after you file your claim to receive your first benefit check.

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Effects On Health And Mortality

Unemployment can have adverse health effects. One study indicated that a 1% increase in the unemployment rate can increase mortality among working-aged males by 6%. Similar effects were not noted for women or the elderly, who had lower workforce attachment. The mortality increase was mainly driven by circulatory health issues . Another study concluded that: “Losing a job because of an establishment closure increased the odds of fair or poor health by 54%, and among respondents with no preexisting health conditions, it increased the odds of a new likely health condition by 83%. This suggests that there are true health costs to job loss, beyond sicker people being more likely to lose their jobs.” Extended job loss can add the equivalent of ten years to a persons age.

Studies have also indicated that worsening economic conditions can be associated with lower mortality across the entire economy, with slightly lower mortality in the much larger employed group offsetting higher mortality in the unemployed group. For example, recessions might include fewer drivers on the road, reducing traffic fatalities and pollution.

Us Job Growth Strong In September As Labor Market Forges Ahead

Unemployment Rate in U.S Jumps to Highest Level Since WWII (infographic ...
  • Nonfarm payrolls increase 263,000 in September
  • Unemployment rate falls to 3.5% from 3.7%
  • Average hourly earning rise 0.3% up 5.0% year-on-year
  • Average workweek unchanged at 34.5 hours

WASHINGTON, Oct 7 – U.S. employers hired more workers than expected in September, while the unemployment rate dropped to 3.5%, pointing to a tight labor market which keeps the Federal Reserve on its aggressive monetary policy tightening campaign for a while.

Though the 0.2 point decline in the jobless rate from 3.7% in August was partly because of people leaving the workforce, the Labor Department’s closely watched employment report on Friday also showed fewer Americans working part-time for economic reasons last month. The labor market continues to show resilience despite the Fed’s stiff interest rate hikes.

“The labor market isn’t just rolling along, it’s a virtual steam-roller that does nothing to slow economic demand and help the Fed in its inflation fight,” said Christopher Rupkey, chief economist at FWDBONDS in New York.

Nonfarm payrolls increased by 263,000 jobs last month after rising by an unrevised 315,000 in August, the survey of establishments showed. Job growth has averaged 420,000 per month this year, down from the monthly average of 562,000 in 2021.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast 250,000 job gains, with estimates ranging from as low as 127,000 to as high as 375,000. The unemployment rate was forecast unchanged at 3.7%.

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How Are Individuals In The Monthly Survey Identified As Being Unemployed

Respondents to the survey are first asked whether they worked during the week that includes the 12th of the month. Individuals are counted as employed if they did any work at all as a paid employee, if they worked in their own business, or worked without pay for at least 15 hours in a family business. People are also counted as employed if they were temporarily absent from work as a result of sickness, bad weather, vacation, a strike, or personal reasons. Such workers are classified as employed but absent from work.

Respondents who are not employed then are asked if they have looked for work in the previous four weeks and are available to work. If so, they are counted as unemployed. Respondents who did not work but are on temporary layoff from a job with the expectation that they will be recalledas many furloughed employees are todayare counted as unemployed whether they looked for a job or not.

Persons With Multiple Jobs

The BLS reported that in 2017, there were approximately 7.5 million persons age 16 and over working multiple jobs, about 4.9% of the population. This was relatively unchanged from 2016. About 4 million worked a full-time primary job and part-time secondary job. A 2020 study based on a Census Bureau survey estimated a higher share of multiple jobholders, with 7.8% of persons in the U.S. working multiple jobs as of 2018 the study found that this percentage has been trending upward during the past twenty years and that earnings from second jobs are, on average, 27.8% of a multiple jobholder’s earnings.

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Given The Measurement Problems During The Pandemic Are There Alternatives To The Bls Indicators Of Slack To Gauge The Health Of The Labor Market

Some economists have offered their own estimates of labor market slack trying to account for the misclassification and unusual movements in labor force participation during the pandemic. For example, Jason Furman and Wilson Powell III at the Peterson Institute for International Economics calculate what they call the realistic unemployment rate. Their realistic unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in January, two percentage points higher than the official unemployment rate. Furman and Powells realistic unemployment rate differs from the official in two ways. First, they estimate the number of workers misclassified as being not at work for other reasons and count them as unemployed. Second, they try to estimate the excess decline in labor force participation beyond what would be expected given the rise in unemployment, and add those people to the unemployment rate as well. While this estimate is dependent on the specific modeling assumptions, it is nonetheless a useful attempt to reveal the extent to which we underestimate the true disruption to peoples livelihoods if we fail to account for the unusually large drop in labor force participation.

A Strengthening Labor Market Brings Improvements For All Groups Though Disparities Remain

Unemployment rate expected to rise to 4.5 per cent

By Kyle K. Moore

EPI analyzes state unemployment rates by race and ethnicity, and racial/ethnic unemployment rate gaps, on a quarterly basis to generate a sample size large enough to create reliable estimates of unemployment rates by race and ethnicity at the state level.

We report estimates only for states for which the sample size of these subgroups is large enough to create an accurate estimate. For this reason, the number of states included in our maps and data tables varies based on the analysis performed. The following analysis contains data on the first quarter of 2022 and the fourth quarter of 2021.

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Understanding The Unemployment Rate

The U.S. unemployment rate is released on the first Friday of every month for the preceding month. The current and past editions of the report are available on the website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics . Users can generate and download tables showing any of the labor market measures named above for a specified date range.

In the U.S., the official and the most commonly cited national unemployment rate is the U-3, which the BLS releases as part of its monthly employment situation report. It defines unemployed people as those who are willing and available to work and who have actively sought work within the past four weeks.

According to the BLS, those with temporary, part-time, or full-time jobs are considered employed, as are those who perform at least 15 hours of unpaid work for a family business or farm. The unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted to account for predictable variations, such as extra hiring during the holidays. The BLS also provides the unadjusted rate.

The unemployment rate for September 2022 decreased slightly from the prior month and settled at 3.5%. This is equal to the pre-pandemic level of 3.5% in February 2020. The economy added 263,000 nonfarm payrolls during this period.

Us Unemployment Rate Before And After Covid

The US unemployment rate had reached a 50-year low of 3.5% in February 2020. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the unemployment rate increased to 14.7% in April 2020. The number of unemployed people in the US increased from 5.8 million in February to 23 million in April. The unemployment rate is now higher than it was during the Great Recession of 2008-2009. In May 2020, the unemployment rate fell to 13.3%, but this is still much higher than it was before the pandemic. In terms of state unemployment rates, the New York State has had an increase in its unemployment rate from 4.4% in December 2019 to 8.1% in March 2020. Other states with high unemployment rates include Michigan , California , and Ohio . In contrast, Texas had an unemployment rate of 2.9% as of March 2020, which is down from 4.1% in December 2019 and below the national average of 3%. States with relatively low unemployment rates also include Alabama , Tennessee , Mississippi , and South Carolina .

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How To Use The Unemployment Rate

Keep in mind that the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator. It tells you what has already happened, since employers only lay off workers after business slows down.

Companies resist hiring new workers when a recession is over, until they can be sure that the economy will stay strong. The economy could improve for months, and the recession could be over before the unemployment rate drops. It’s not suitable for predicting trends, but it’s useful for confirming them.

Employment Policies And The Minimum Wage

Infographic: Unemployment Rate Jumps to Highest Level Since WWII

Advocates of raising the minimum wage assert this would provide households with more money to spend, while opponents recognize the impact this has on businesses’, especially small businesses’, ability to pay additional workers. Critics argue raising employment costs deters hiring. During 2009, the minimum wage was $7.25 per hour, or $15,000 per year, below poverty level for some families. The New York Times editorial board wrote in August 2013: “As measured by the federal minimum wage, currently $7.25 an hour, low-paid work in America is lower paid today than at any time in modern memory. If the minimum wage had kept pace with inflation or average wages over the past nearly 50 years, it would be about $10 an hour if it had kept pace with the growth in average labor productivity, it would be about $17 an hour.”

The Economist wrote in December 2013: “A minimum wage, providing it is not set too high, could thus boost pay with no ill effects on jobs…America’s federal minimum wage, at 38% of median income, is one of the rich world’s lowest. Some studies find no harm to employment from federal or state minimum wages, others see a small one, but none finds any serious damage.”

The U.S. minimum wage was last raised to $7.25 per hour in July 2009. As of December 2013, there were 21 states with minimum wages above the Federal minimum, with the State of Washington the highest at $9.32. Ten states index their minimum wage to inflation.

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Given The Limitations Of The Unemployment Rate As A Measure Of Labor Market Slack What Are Some Alternatives

The BLS releases six measures of labor market slack in the monthly jobs report. These include the official unemployment rate , discussed above, as well as more narrow definitions, called U-1 and U-2, which respectively include only those unemployed at least 15 weeks or for less than a month . The BLS also publishes broader definitions of slack. The U-6 rate, for instance, counts all those who are technically unemployed plus those are who are working part-time but would prefer full time work, and those marginally attached to the labor force, that is, people who say they want either a full-time or part-time job, have not looked for work in the most recent four weeks, but have looked for a job sometime in the past 12 months. When adults classified as marginally attached report that they did not recently seek work because they do not believe jobs are available for them, they are classified as discouraged workers. The U-4 counts the unemployed and discouraged workers, while U-5 adds in other marginally attached workers. In January, the broadest of these measures, U-6, stood at 11.1 percent, 4.8 percentage points higher than the official unemployment rate.

Us Unemployment Rates By Year

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has measured unemployment since the stock market crash of 1929.

Gross domestic product is the measure of economic output by a country. When the unemployment rate is high, there are fewer workers. That could lead to less economic output and a lower rate of GDP.

When inflation rises, the prices of goods and services go up, making them more expensive. If there is a high rate of unemployment at the same time, this could cause issues for those without an income since they may be struggling to afford basic necessities.

The following table shows how unemployment, GDP, and inflation have changed by year since 1929. Unless otherwise stated, the unemployment rate is for December of that year. Unemployment rates for the years 1929 through 1947 were calculated from a different BLS source due to current BLS data only going back to 1948. GDP is the annual rate and inflation is for December of that year and is the year-over-year rate.


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What Is The Global Unemployment Rate

The International Labor Organization forecasts the global unemployment rate for 2022 to be 5.9%. This is lower than the 6.6% and 6.2% rates witnessed in 2020 and 2021, respectively, but remains above 2019’s rate of 5.4%. Unemployment rates are closest to their pre-pandemic levels in high-income countries like the U.S., the U.K., and Canada, where unemployment is at or near historic lows.

The Natural Rate Of Unemployment Explained In Less Than Four Minutes

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Kimberly Amadeo is an expert on U.S. and world economies and investing, with over 20 years of experience in economic analysis and business strategy. She is the President of the economic website World Money Watch. As a writer for The Balance, Kimberly provides insight on the state of the present-day economy, as well as past events that have had a lasting impact.

The natural rate of unemployment is the lowest level that a healthy economy can sustain without creating inflation. To economists, it’s a combination of frictional, structural, and surplus unemployment.

Blasius Erlinger / Getty Images

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Us Unemployment Rate History

The unemployment rate is the percentage of people in the labor force who are looking for a job but cannot find one. In the United States, the unemployment rate is calculated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics . The BLS surveys households to determine who is employed, who is unemployed, and who is not in the labor force. The unemployment rate does not include people who are not looking for a job, such as students or stay-at-home parents. Nor does it include those who are incarcerated or running their own business.

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