Is The Unemployment Rate Broken?


"Full employment" — it's that magical point where everyone in the economy who wants a job has a job... and ideally the right job. Economists disagree about exactly where that point is, but for decades it was generally accepted that once the unemployment rate fell below a certain number, that was how you knew that you'd hit full employment. Various numbers have been thrown out over the years: 6%, 5%, 4%.

But today unemployment is hovering just above 3% and economists still aren't sure we've hit full employment. So is it possible that that unemployment rate is not as useful an indicator as it once was? That's what Economist Jared Bernstein thinks, so today on the show he's brought us 3 alternative indicators that just might do a better job of helping us pinpoint where full employment really is.

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