Unemployment Rate – Why It’s Important to Look Past the Numbers of the Unemployment Rate

Unemployment Rate - Why It's Important to Look Past the Numbers of the Unemployment Rate

Beyond the Zahlen

Today more than ever, individuals require a method to stay ahead. After record highs in the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 in September, the markets sank in October. But that didn’t stop economists from declaring, “The American economy is returning.” Based on the news that the International Monetary Fund believes that the United States will have one of the top-performing advanced economies in the year 2015.

At an inflation rate hovering at 2.2%, there’s not a sign of any indication that the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates. Large companies appear poised to profit from favorable economic conditions. According to most reports, the economy appears to be in a good situation to grow. What is the reason, then, that despite all that positive news, isn’t there more people optimistic about the economic outlook?

Although prices for stocks shot up in September, the stock market was at an 18-year record low. While high prices for stocks may be encouraging, a robust market will, in the main time, only benefit those already wealthy. In the case of a common American, those who are the “little man” as well as the “gal,” the economic downturn hasn’t brought an amazing recovery to match. When you dig into the data, you’ll understand how more than ever, families are searching for ways to make a dent.

Growing Disparity

In its September 2014 bulletin, the US Federal Reserve presented results from its study of consumer finances, which reveals how the financial situation of consumers has changed over the last three years. If you’re among the top 10 percent of income earners in the United States, the news was a bit sour. Earnings increased by 2percent on average to keep up with the rate of inflation.

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However, for the rest of us and especially the middle class, the report was not exactly encouraging “only households at the top of the income spectrum experienced significant increases in income in the period between 2010 and 2013.” the Fed announcement said, “Overall the median income dropped five percent from 2010 to 2013, ranging from $49,000 to $46,700.”

Harvard business school came to similar conclusions from the results of the alumni survey regarding US competitiveness “Our study of these results is focused on the troubling division between American competitiveness. American economy,” the authors of the report wrote. “Large and midsize companies have risen strongly after the economic downturn, and skilled workers are flourishing. However, middle- and working-class people struggle, as do small-scale businesses.” And even Fed chairman Janet Yellen in a speech last month, referred to “widening inequalities “as among her top worries about the economy.

While the chances of advancing haven’t changed over the years, the gap that separates poverty from wealth is becoming bigger and more difficult. For those in the lower class, they are finding themselves without choices to make the jump.

-5% is the amount it is that the mean US income decreased between 2010 and 2013
+11 percent of the growth for those aged 55 or older who are in the workforce today, when compared with 1992.
11.7 percent of US families run their own businesses. The lowest percentage since 1989.
63% of the workforce is engaged. The lowest level since the 70s.

Making the Clock tick

You may have heard the news reports about the unemployment rate, which has risen from 10 percent in 2009 and has risen to 5.9 percent in this fall. The truth hidden in the headlines is that the rate of unemployment has been falling, not due to more people being employed, but rather because more people are opting not to search for employment! The participation rate for the workforce, which is the measure of the number of eligible workers working in the current time, is at its lowest since the 1970s, at 62.8 percent. This is even more fascinating when you look at the demographics of those who are and who are not working. It’s possible that the lower percentages are due to Baby Boomers who are taking early retirement. However, that doesn’t seem to be the situation. The proportion of those aged older than 55 that are still employed has actually increased from 29.3 percent in January 1992 to 40.3 percent in January 1993.

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In other words, more Americans are opting for early retirement than in the past. Women drove the increase in the percentage of the workforce that was employed in the 70s, 1980s, and 90s; however, today, women seem to be moving out of the workplace. The participation rate in the labor force for women has dropped from 60.4 percent in 1999 to 56.8 percent in August 2014. This seems to correspond with studies that show that more women stay at home with their children. However, that’s not the only woman who has left the working world. It might surprise you to find out that a significant percentage of people who leave the workforce is between the ages of 25 and 54. This includes many with degrees from colleges. While 81.7 percent of bachelors degree holders who were over 25 years of age were working in 1994, this number fell to 75.4 percent in August.

The numbers were much more shocking for those with high school degrees whose participation decreased from 66.6 percent in 1992 to 58.1 percent in the current year. That means there are many educated, smart, and capable people who left the workforce, including moms with professional backgrounds, not to mention those who are irritated with the lack of work.

They’ll want an effective method to replace lost incomes and increase their family’s finances if you dig more into the figures and understand the reasons the reason why more than ever, families are searching for ways to make a dent.

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