Saturday, April 9, 2011
If there's one headline indicator that encapsulates everything you need to know about the economy, it's the unemployment rate. And for the last few months, the news has been uncommonly good.
In just four months, the unemployment rate has plunged from 9.8 percent to 8.8 percent. That's one of the sharpest short-term declines on record, and it suggests that jobs are rapidly returning and the economy quickly healing.
[See 10 industries that will hire the most in 2011.]
But neither of those things is quite true, and the unemployment rate has become a misleading indicator of the economy's health. If anything, it may now be telling us more about the shifting patterns of work in America, and the new ways people are adjusting to a challenging economy.
We may even be returning to habits of a few decades ago, when fewer people worked, incomes were lower, and buying habits were more modest.
Posted by Michele Kearney at 12:39 PM