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Friday, April 08, 2005


The Unemployment Numbers Don't Tell The Whole Story

Do you know how they calculate the unemployment rate? With some adjustments for seasonal changes, survey responses, and similar ancillary information, it basically reflects the number of individuals who are collecting unemployment benefits as a ratio of the population at large. Does it accurately represent the number of workers who are out of work?

Consider that if your benefits are exhausted, you no longer count as unemployed. If you just graduated from school, or recently entered the United States to look for work, you are not counted as unemployed. If you were fired, or quit, and are ineligible for weekly benefits, you are not counted as unemployed. If you were injured on the job, or have been out fighting a serious illness, you are not counted as unemployed. If you have never worked before, or if you previously retired and now want to work again, you are not counted as unemployed.

What does this mean for the average job seeker? It means that despite the government rhetoric about a healthy economy in a recovery mode, the competition for available positions is far more fierce than the published numbers suggest.

And you thought there were only 7 or 8 million other people also looking for that perfect job? Cheer up, your competition just doubled!

(Hint: redouble your efforts if you don't want to lose ground:

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