Unemployment and measuring the Macroeconomy


The unemployment rate is key marker of economic performance. An economy with constant high joblessness is wasting its fruitful resources; its level of output is underneath its productive potential. Such an economy certainly has a inferior level of social welfare than might simply be attained. Being jobless is not agreeable, not is fearing joblessness for no other reason than turning of wheel of business cycle.

Keeping unemployment near to the ground is one of the key objectives of macroeconomic policy.

The official unemployment rate may perhaps underestimate the real experience of unemployment. Someone in group (3) who needs a occupation but has given up looking, surely feels unemployed, and might feel as unemployed as someone in group (4). Maybe these discouraged workers must be included in the unemployment rate. Furthermore, some people in group (1) have part time jobs but want full time jobs. Possibly these part-time for economic reasons ought to be counted as unemployed, or as half unemployed.

Economists have noted striking and constant variations in joblessness by demographic group and class. Teenagers age 16-19 have higher unemployment rates in comparison to adults, African-Americans have higher joblessness rates than whites, and high-school dropouts have higher joblessness rates than those who have post-graduate degrees. For most of the post-world war II period (but not recently) women have had higher joblessness rates than men. Considerably, recessions don't just increase the unemployment rate: they disproportionately increase unemployment rate among these high-unemployment groups. Figure below contrasts unemployment rates of a range of groups of workers.

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Figure: U.S. Unemployment Rate by Demographic Group, 1960-2000

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