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Measuring Unemployment


Of all the economic statistics released regularly, unemployment rates receive the most widespread attention. Yet some say it understates the true level of joblessness.

The unemployment rate seen in headlines every month is only one of six jobless rates calculated. The problem is that to be considered unemployed, individuals must have actively looked for work within the last four weeks. If not, they are not counted as unemployed.

One of the alternative measures (see U-5) corrects this problem by including discouraged and marginally attached workers, showing a current North Carolina jobless rate of 7%. See a complete list here.

Dr. Mike Walden, Professor, NCSU

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