Traditional Measures of Unemployment Are Missing the Mark (written by Assistant Professor Mark Paul)

From Dollars and Sense. org, May 9, 2019

We’ve heard it countless times in recent media accounts: The economy is at “full employment.” The most recent jobs numbers, out the first week in May, show the official unemployment rate and applications for unemployment benefits are at a 50-year low. The last time a recovery was able to push the unemployment rate to these levels was in 1969, when my mom was just entering elementary school and the United States was in the heyday of the “Golden Age” of capitalism.

But economists are puzzled. Despite low unemployment (the current rate is just 3.6%), significant wage increases remain elusive. In other words, workers aren’t benefiting much. This is deeply troubling in an era of unprecedented inequality, driven in large part by decades of a falling wage share. In other words, the size of our economic pie may be getting bigger, but the wage share, or the share of the economic pie going to workers, has been contracting. Further, a lack of wage growth isn’t allowing for the true recovery that main street so desperately needs.

Read the entire article here.


Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre campus on Sarasota Bay is home to more than 700 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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