I was having an economic discussion with my father this past weekend and we got on to the topic of the unemployment rate.  I remember hearing John Sumser in talk last year state that having a national unemployment number is pointless.  Unemployment is local – it depends upon the region and, even more, the city in which you are employed.  I agree completely with that premise.

The current national unemployment number is listed at 9.8%, but there is much discussion about what the real number is.  I have heard that it is closer to 16% if you factor in the people who have stopped looking and/or had their unemployment benefits expire.  Of course, the unemployment rate varies greatly from Detroit to Fargo.  Hence, the national number isn’t necessarily representative of what is happening in your city.

My father was recalling a persuasive argument he heard from a professor in graduate school.  This prof argued that the better statistic would be an employment number.  What percentage of people are employed?  I know it may sound like splitting hairs, but I like the premise.  How many people are presently employed?  I think that number would be more illustrative, on a national level, than our current, questionable unemployment rate.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.