Analysis: Jobs matter, unemployment rate doesn't
May 6th, 2011
10:55 AM ET

Analysis: Jobs matter, unemployment rate doesn't

Ignore the unemployment rate, and ignore anything you read that highlights the fact that it increased from 8.8% in March to 9% in April.  It doesn't matter.  It's an irrelevant number.  There are so many long-term unemployed in this country, that the unemployment rate would actually be much higher if all of them were counted– more like 16% or 17%.

In fact, this uptick to 9% actually suggests more people are returning to the work force, because people who have given up looking for work are not counted in the official unemployment rate. 113,000 people who weren't counted as unemployed in March jumped back into the labor force in April.

The only number that matters is the number of jobs created - 244K in April; a LOT more than even the most optimistic economists were predicting, and within striking distance of the number (300k) of the jobs the economy needs to be creating per month to get back down to the 5% unemployment rate we had before the recession.

We also saw the jobs-created numbers for February and March revised higher. April's gains aren't some kind of blip– they are spread across a broad range of industries: retail, business and professional services, health care, manufacturing. The only major sector that saw job declines was the government, and that's a trend we've been seeing for a while as states and local governments cut workers amid budget struggles.

Bottom line: April's jobs report is a good, solid one. The job gains still may not be enough to lower the unemployment rate, especially as we see more people try to find jobs. But it shows the economy is moving in the right direction, and hiring is picking up steam.

Post by:
Filed under: Economy • Finance • Jobs
soundoff (450 Responses)
  1. mike ryder

    Hey, if you agree with or believe any of the dribble in any "news report " coming from cnn money or CNN on financial industry ,you are as much to blame as they are . If you liked this JOKE try listening to Ali Velshi explain why gas is so expensive .He says its our fault,our being the commodities traders. Isn't that what brought down the banking industry?Wasn't that what WALL ST. REFORM was all about?Curbing the speculation and futures industry?BUT THE NEXT TIME YOU FEEL ANGRY @ ECONOMY,PRICES,JOBS,GOVT.DEALINGS,WAR or anything else,REMEMBER, ITS YOUR OWN DAMN FAULT. Where does the buck stop these days?????????????????????

    May 8, 2011 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
  2. mike ryder

    What a bunch of lying ,cheating tools of greed these people of trust have become.Same sheet different holes.Come on D.C. do the right thing ,grow some bb's,and put these injustices to sleep. Get rid of the status quo and bring us into enlightenment

    May 8, 2011 at 8:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. como1

    What BS from a third rate mind and editorialist. Lagging unemployment was a BIG deal in 2000 and 2001. Now we should ignore a key indicator of the true depth of the recession and the absolutely corrupt and ineffectual Obama Administration response to the recession? Only fools fall for this type of article.

    May 8, 2011 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17