The Corner

The Unemployment Rate: Apples to Apples

For those who prefer to traffic in pixie dust and unicorns, Friday’s “news” that the unemployment rate dropped from 7.9 in January percent to 7.7 percent in February is cause for merriment. One finds imaginary pleasures where one can, so I won’t begrudge them their happy numbers. After all, confidence, whether manufactured or justified, is important to the economy.

For the rest of us, the following unemployment number is somewhat less felicitous: Were the unemployment rate today measured against the same workforce participation as when President Obama took office four years ago, the unemployment rate today would be 10.7 percent. When Obama took office, it was 7.8 percent. Four years later, more are unemployed.

This is what passes for good news  in America these days.

Peter Kirsanow — Peter N. Kirsanow is an attorney and a member of the United States Commission on Civil Rights.

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