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  #1  
Old 10-18-2004, 06:46 AM
bup bup is offline
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How is the US National Unemployment Rate Calculated?

I can find state sites on how they calculate their unemployment rate, but what about the federal one?
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  #2  
Old 10-18-2004, 08:23 AM
Freddy the Pig Freddy the Pig is offline
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics web site will tell you everything you wanted to know and more.
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Old 10-18-2004, 09:02 AM
Jinx Jinx is offline
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Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Once your benefits are gone, you're off the books. Once you're off the books, you don't count anymore. So, figures on unemployment is not an objective look at the unemployment situation.

Out of sight, out of mind...
- Jinx
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Old 10-18-2004, 09:25 AM
RandomLetters RandomLetters is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx
Once your benefits are gone, you're off the books. Once you're off the books, you don't count anymore. So, figures on unemployment is not an objective look at the unemployment situation.

Out of sight, out of mind...
- Jinx
May I have a Cite, Jinx? You seem to be wrong.

From the Bureau of Labor Statistics that Freddythepig linked too:

Quote:
Where do the statistics come from?

Because unemployment insurance records, which many people think are the source of total unemployment data, relate only to persons who have applied for such benefits, and since it is impractical to actually count every unemployed person each month, the Government conducts a monthly sample survey called the Current Population Survey (CPS) to measure the extent of unemployment in the country. The CPS has been conducted in the United States every month since 1940 when it began as a Work Projects Administration project. It has been expanded and modified several times since then. As explained later, the CPS estimates, beginning in 1994, reflect the results of a major redesign of the survey.
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Old 10-18-2004, 10:49 AM
Freddy the Pig Freddy the Pig is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinx
Once your benefits are gone, you're off the books. Once you're off the books, you don't count anymore. So, figures on unemployment is not an objective look at the unemployment situation.
I'm amazed at the number of otherwise intelligent people who believe this. Get a clue, people: Even the government wouldn't be so stupid as to stop counting you as unemployed just because your benefits run out.
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  #6  
Old 10-18-2004, 11:06 AM
Cerowyn Cerowyn is offline
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There's an interesting discussion of unemployment and measurement thereof at NationMaster.com. It looks at both the critics' perspective about the way US statistics are derived, and the rationale behind why that methodology is used.
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  #7  
Old 10-18-2004, 11:55 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Freddy the Pig
I'm amazed at the number of otherwise intelligent people who believe this. Get a clue, people: Even the government wouldn't be so stupid as to stop counting you as unemployed just because your benefits run out.
True, however they are so stupid as to stop counting the discouraged workers:
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Who is counted as unemployed?

Persons are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work.

Who is not in the labor force?

All members of the civilian noninstitutional population are eligible for inclusion in the labor force, and those 16 and over who have a job or are actively looking for one are so classified. All others--those who have no job and are not looking for one--are counted as "not in the labor force."
Quote:
Discouraged workers -- Persons not in the labor force who want and are available for a job and who have looked for work sometime in the past 12 months (or since the end of their last job if they held one within the past 12 months), but who are not currently looking because they believe there are no jobs available or there are none for which they would qualify.

http://www.bls.gov/bls/glossary.htm#D
There are by some estimates, a million discouraged workers out there who are not counted in the unemplyment statistics.
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  #8  
Old 10-18-2004, 01:00 PM
II Gyan II II Gyan II is offline
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Without vouching for accuracy, here's a primer.
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  #9  
Old 10-18-2004, 09:05 PM
Bob55 Bob55 is offline
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There's a 1980s show that comes on PBS occasionally where this professor talks about economics. One episode is all about unemployment, and he talks about statistics and accuracy and sample size. Basically IIRC the agency calls up 65,000 people and finds out their current employment status, since a sample size this large is high enough for a certain required level of confidence.
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