Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Unemployment Rates: Going Down?

7/28/14 - A main indication of a recovering economy is a lowering of unemployment rates, and, according to an article by Jim Puzzanghera of the L.A. Times, the American economy may be seeing precisely that trend. According to current statistics, Puzzanghera states, the number of people filing for first-time unemployment benefits is at its lowest since February 2006.

Of course, this only measures first-time claims for unemployment benefits, not continuing claims nor claims from individuals laid off more than once in the term. Thus, all that these statistics really measure is how many individuals have been laid off for the first time and have filed for unemployment benefits. That being said, Puzzanghera also presents statistics to show that the total number of individuals receiving unemployment benefits has dropped to 2.5 million, the lowest since June 2007.

These numbers, however, can also be skewed, as they measure only individuals receiving benefits, not necessarily the number of individuals actually unemployed. The Labor Department doesn't count individuals who are still unemployed but whose benefits have run out, nor does it count individuals who have quit the job search altogether.

While it is true that statistics can be warped, so as to present the data in a more favorable way, it seems that even when such changes have been accounted for, the number of jobless individuals has indeed been going down in recent weeks. The numbers are looking up for the labor force and the American economy, and this may just be the beginning of our ascent from the seemingly bottomless pit into which we were dropped when the Great Recession first hit.

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