What Does the Unemployment Rate Measure? Labor Market Slack or the Social Stress of Joblessness? Why Does it Matter?

What Does the Unemployment Rate Measure? Labor Market Slack or the Social Stress of Joblessness? Why Does it Matter?

photo: Rui Duarte The unemployment rate published monthly by the Bureau of Labor Statistics is one of the most widely watched of all economic indicators. But why? What does it really measure? The news media, politicians, and voters tend to see the unemployment rate as an index of the social stress of joblessness. There is ample […]

Deconstructing ShadowStats (Part 2): In Search of an Alternative Measure of Unemployment

A few weeks ago, I posted a critique of the alternate inflation measure devised by John Williams for his popular website ShadowStats.com. Several responders asked if I could also comment on Williams’ alternate unemployment rate. Here, reproduced with permission is the latest unemployment chart from ShadowStats. Like William’s inflation rate, his unemployment numbers run far […]

Deconstructing ShadowStats (Part 2): In Search of an Alternative Measure of Unemployment

A few weeks ago, I posted a critique of the alternate inflation measure devised by John Williams for his popular website ShadowStats.com. Several responders asked if I could also comment on Williams’ alternate unemployment rate. Here, reproduced with permission is the latest unemployment chart from ShadowStats. Like William’s inflation rate, his unemployment numbers run far […]

Russian Crisis Hits Latvia, but (So Far) Not as Badly as Feared

From the beginning, it was clear that the economic crisis in Russia would pose multiple problems for Latvia and its Baltic neighbors. Until recently, many businesspeople in Latvia had seen close trade, transportation, and financial linkages as strengths that allowed their country to serve as Russia’s economic portal to the EU. Since the middle of […]

Russian Crisis Hits Latvia, but (So Far) Not as Badly as Feared

From the beginning, it was clear that the economic crisis in Russia would pose multiple problems for Latvia and its Baltic neighbors. Until recently, many businesspeople in Latvia had seen close trade, transportation, and financial linkages as strengths that allowed their country to serve as Russia’s economic portal to the EU. Since the middle of […]

Did Austerity Work in Britain? One Chart Tells It All

The general election campaign is in full swing in Britain, and it seems it’s all about austerity. From London, The New York Times reports that the campaign revolves around a single issue: the economy, and whether its rebound is the result of an austerity policy championed by the Conservative-led government of David Cameron, or in […]

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