Definition of Unemployment
The unemployment rate is the percentage of the US labor force that is unemployed. It is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed individuals by the sum of the number of people unemployed and employed. An individual is counted as unemployed if they are over the age of 16 and actively looking for a job, but cannot find one. Students, who choose not to work, and retirees, are not counted in the unemployment rate.
In March 2001:
Total civilian population 211,171,000(Excluding those under 16, members of the military, and persons in institutions)
- Not in Labor force 69,304,000 (Retired, students, individuals choosing not to work)= Labor force 141,868,000 (Total population minus those not in labor force)- Employed 135,780,000 (Individuals with jobs)= Unemploye 6,088,000 (Individuals without a job and actively searching)
Unemployment Rate =6,088,000
135,780,000 + 6,088,000 = 4.3%
The unemployment rate for the month of March 2001 was 4.3 percent, a tenth of a point increase from the January and February 2001 rate of 4.2%. The number of individuals employed decreased by 86,000.
An unemployment rate of 4.3 percent for March 2001 is the highest unemployment rate since July 1999, but only slightly higher than the 3.9 to 4.1 percent range from October 1999 to the end of 2000. Prior to that, the unemployment rate had been in a steady decline since shortly after the last recession in 1990-1991. The average monthly increase in employment was approximately 155,000 in 2000 and 220,000 in 1999. For almost ten years, unemployment has fallen and the number of employed persons has increased by more than 15 million.
In March 2001, the number of jobs decreased by 86,000, the largest monthly decrease since 1991. Job losses were most prominent in the manufacturing sector (81,000 jobs), but there were also losses in the retail trade sector (46,000 jobs). These losses were partially offset by employment increases experienced in the construction and finance sectors.
Growth in employment in 2000 was 1.9 million; in 1999, the increase in employment equaled 2.8 million.
For most of 2000, unemployment remained between 3.9 and 4.1 percent of the labor force. In the first three-quarters of 2000, the numbers of individuals in the labor force were increasing at a rate that many observers said could not be sustained without considerable inflationary pressures.
The growth in the labor force depends upon the growth of the working age population and increases in the percentage of that group willing to work. Projections are that the size of the group will continue to grow slightly more than one percent a year and that the percentage working will not increase significantly. Under those conditions, the sustainable monthly growth in jobs is about 155,000. The last three months of 2000 have shown growth in the labor force that is less...