The trouble with talking about unemployment

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Something weird is happening in the unemployment statistics. Weird in an unhelpful way. The unemployment rate used to tell us more than just the percentage of people looking for a job. For a long time, you could also rely on it to tell you a consistent story about underemployment — people who do have a job but want more hours. The relationship used to be simple. Underemployment was a couple of points higher than unemployment. That seems to have suddenly changed, and it sends a frightening message about the economy. For the last decade, it hovered around two percent. Now it has shot up to a record high of 2.6 percent and stayed there. This matters because a lot of people use the unemployment rate as a measure of what is happening in the labour market. We need to focus on more than the unemployment rate. And we should be sceptical of anyone who says a falling unemployment rate means things are going well. Economist, Jason Murphy, tells the full story here: (VIEW LINK)


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