Does the overall unemployment rate provide an accurate picture of the impact of unemployment on all U.S. population groups?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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No, the overall unemployment rate does not provide an accurate picture of the impact of unemployment on all groups.  There are a number of reasons for this.  They include:

Different demographic groups have different unemployment rates.  Men are more likely to be unemployed than women today, especially in minority communities.  African Americans have a higher unemployment rate than other groups.  Young people have higher unemployment rates.  More educated people are less likely to be unemployed.  In these ways, the overall rate does not accurately portray how bad unemployment is with various demographic groups.

The unemployment rate does not take into account discouraged workers.  There have been times in the past few years when the unemployment rate was gone down even though there were fewer jobs.  This was because many people had given up on trying to find work and were therefore no longer in the labor force.   These people have been heavily impacted by unemployment but are not counted in the official statistics.

For these reasons, the overall unemployment statistics do not accurately portray unemployment’s impact on all groups.



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