Employment Rate — Not Unemployment — Tells All

by Ayvaunn Penn, Your Black World

Everybody and they mama is runnin’ around talkin’ ’bout the unemployment rate like they really know somethin’. Well, some really do know what they are talking about — like the experts. The only thing is that now some experts are saying that it is actually the e-pop — the employment-population — that best tells how the economy is doing.

Heidi Shierholz, a labor economist with the Employment Policy Institute says, “When we have a time when the labor force is not growing normally, e-pop provides the cleanest assessment of what is going on in the labor market.” If you are wondering why this is, here is why. CNN Money reports:

“Last month, only 58.1% of Americans age 16 and over were employed, a significant drop from before the recession and the lowest since 1983. That’s especially worrisome to economists, who say a steady increase in those dropping out of the work force and not being counted in the unemployment rate is disguising just how bad the labor market really is.”

So you see, the unemployment rate can have the potential of being a dirty little liar. With that in mind, let us get back to the wonders of the e-pop. Not only does it give a clearer picture of the economy’s status, it is also good for the e-pop number to be elevated. It sounds terribly elementary to even mention the latter because obviously more people working is a good thing. It is important, however, to understand why and how that affects us. Robert Brusca of FAO Economics provides us with a bit more insight. The real benefit to having a high e-pop number is the fact that “a good part of the wealth of a nation has to do with the proportion of population that works.” How does that affect us? More people in the U.S. having jobs means a wealthier nation. For those who need further explanation on how that affects them personally, just imagine living in a poor country. Thank you, Mr. Brusca for that enlightenment.

There you have it. All that talk about unemployment rates may not be all that it’s cracked up to be. It certainly is not worthless, but we have definitely learned that there is yet another more efficient and accurate way of monitoring the plight of the U.S. economy.

Ayvaunn Penn is the founder of Your Black Poets and an award winning writer completing her degree in English and philosophy. To inquire about her freelance editing services, click here. To like Ayvaunn on Facebook, click here.

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