After shooting from 3.4% in February to 14.7% in April, the headline unemployment rate has dropped to 8.4% in August.
You will interpret the statistics as you wish.
Looks to me like people are slowing getting back to work after the shock of the pandemic and follow-on government-ordered shutdown of the economy.
There are six different measures of unemployment, each providing a slightly different perspective. Put them all together for a more complex picture the economy.
At the top is a graph since 2007 of U-3, the headline statistic, along with U-6, the broadest stat which includes discouraged workers, marginally attached, and those working part time because they can’t find full time work.
For a closer picture, focus in on the stats since January 2019:
Here are the raw numbers for U-1 through U-6:
|measure||Feb 20||Mar 20||Apr 20||May 20||Jun 20||Jun 21||Jun 22|
Notice the U-1, which is the long-term unemployed stat, rose 0.7% in June and then shot up another 2.9% in June.
Changes since April:
- U-1 – up 4.0%
- U-3 – down 6.3%
- U-6 – down 8.6%
Explanation of the different stats:
|U-1||U-1 Persons unemployed 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force|
|U-2||U-2 Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force|
|U-3||U-3 Total unemployed, as a percent of the civilian labor force (official unemployment rate)|
|U-4||U-4 Total unemployed plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus discouraged workers|
|U-5||U-5 Total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus all other persons marginally attached to the labor force, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force (i.e. marginally attached)|
|U-6||U-6 Total unemployed, plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all persons marginally attached to the labor force|