René Magritte and US Job Creation

Hearing people say that 1.5 million new health care jobs were an economic “bright spot,” I thought of the surrealist artist, René Magritte, who showed us that all is not as it appears. Let’s start with an excellent NPR Planet Money graphic…

The Labor Force Participation Rate: Misleading Unemployment Numbers

If the August unemployment rate is down to 7.3%… Then,  why aren’t we smiling? The reason is a declining labor force participation rate. The BLS tells us that the participation rate is, “the labor force as a percent of the…

Unemployment: Is It All About Participation Rates?

Yes, at  7.6%, the unemployment rate is almost the same as last month. So too, at 11.7 million is the number of unemployed people. But some analysts think something is changing radically. They are concerned about participation rates. When we…

How Has The Safety Net Affected the Unemployment Rate?

University of Chicago economist Casey Mulligan believes that the US unemployment rate has remained high because of many separate public policy changes. Big and small, each one influenced workers, businesses and consumers by creating new incentives. For workers, Dr, Mulligan…

A Tale of Two Surveys

Everyone was surprised that the US unemployment rate for September dipped to 7.8%. Interpreting the number as evidence of an accelerated recovery, some people were delighted. Others advised caution, saying the statistical source of the unemployment rate is not always…

Election Economics: More of the Jobs Story

Here are some jobs facts that might be helpful when you listen to the candidates. During 1933, the unemployment rate was a cataclysmic 24.9%. Having entered office that year, FDR was re-elected in 1936 with unemployment still soaring but better…

Jumping (or Not) and Unemployment

By Mira Korber, guest blogger. Pretend for a moment that you are mounted on a jumping horse approaching an obstacle full speed.  The next thing you know, you go hurtling through the air like some limp animal. What happened? Your…

Unconventional Jobs

By Mira Korber, guest blogger. Repairing the US employment situation will prove a long battle. As you read yesterday, at current growth rates, it could take eight years for American employment to fully recover. Out of this labor morass, an…

Employment’s Bottomless Pit

By Mira Korber, guest blogger. The U.S. economy added 227,000 jobs in February. That’s more than the 210,000 jobs economists forecast for the month, though the current unemployment rate is still high: 8.3%. (For a different take on the issue,…

Euro-Zone Rates

Please match each of the following countries with its unemployment rate and borrowing rate: Countries: Germany, Greece, Ireland; and the U.S. and the U.K. Unemployment rates: 9.1%, 7.7%, 7%, 15.9%, 14.8% 2-year bond rates: .5%, 4.5%, 1.75%, 29.69%, 12.95% The…