Tuesday, December 20, 2011

U-1 = Unemployed / Workforce

When the rate of the jobless declines,
The message is one of two kinds;
Either jobless are fewer
(The positive view) or
They gave up the job-seeking lines.

When reading of the unemployment rate, also known in the US as U-1, one must always be mindful of the fact that both the numerator - the jobless - and the denominator - the workforce - can fluctuate. As a recent Wall Street Journal headline ("Unemployment Eases, Jobs Still Scarce") reminds us, the unemployed can lower the jobless rate by becoming too discouraged to look for work. In this sad state, they no longer count in the denominator of the U-1 equation, and thus lower the unemployment rate.

On a brighter note, let us pause to wish all of our Jewish friends a Happy Hanukkah (regardless of their employment status)!

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