Standard measure of the unemployment rate

Write a brief 2 page (800-word maximum, single spaced) informal report describing the current employment situation.  You will want to rely heavily on the data from the Household Survey and Establishment Survey that came out last month (link below).


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Please note that this is in the form of an informal report. The report will have three main parts: introduction, discussion sections, and conclusion. The report should also include such formatting elements such as headings, bulleted or numbered lists, graphs and charts or tables. Instructions are posted on the assignment page in Blackboard.


You will want to visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics website for the release of the Household Survey and the Establishment Survey:  In particular you will want to look at Tables A and B.  Table A-15 provides useful information on alternative measure of the unemployment such as the one that includes discouraged workers. You should also look at news stories and blogs about the release. Make sure to site your additional resources.


Your answer should be consistent with the intuition in the models from the course.  However, you should never draw a loanable funds model, an aggregate production function, etc.  In other words, avoid economic jargon. You are not explaining the information to an economist.


Issues you should address:

  1. What happened to the standard measure of the unemployment rate (the U-3 measure)?  What does that say about the current state of the economy?
  2. Does the standard unemployment series convey an accurate picture of the labor market?  If not, what other factors should you look at?  Explain.  You may want to consider the average duration of unemployment, the broader measures such as U-6 which includes “discouraged workers,” the labor force participation rate or the employment-population ratio.  Make sure you explain the rationale for looking at these broader measures.
  3. What happened to non-farm employment?  What does this say about the current state of the economy?



In the conclusion, you should comment on the current state and future of the U.S. economy based upon the data analyzed.

  • A maximum of 800 words
  • Use a 12-point Times New Roman font with one-inch margins and single-spaced.
  • You must submit work that is grammatically correct with correct punctuation usage.

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