Jobs are one of the most important aspects of a morally functioning economy. They help us serve the needs of our neighbors and lead to human flourishing both for the individual and for communities.
Conversely, not having a job can adversely affect spiritual and psychological well-being of individuals and families. Because unemployment is a spiritual problem, Christians in America need to understand and be aware of the monthly data on employment.
Positive news is marked with the plus sign (+) while negative employment data is marked with a minus sign (-). No significant change is marked by (NC).
Unemployment rate (NC): 5 percent
Total number unemployed (NC): 7.9 million.
Employment-population ratio (NC): 59.7 percent.
Change by worker groups: adult men (NC), adult women (NC), teenagers (NC), blacks (NC), whites (NC), Asians (NC), and Hispanics (-).
Long-term unemployed (NC): 2.1 million and accounted for 25.7 percent of the unemployed.
Civilian labor force participation rate (-): 62.8 percent.
Persons employed part time for economic reasons (NC): 6 million.
Discouraged workers (NC): 568,000.
Unemployment: According to the federal government, to be unemployed a person must (a) be jobless, (b) looking for a job, and (c) available for work. People are considered employed if they have a job (whether temporary, part-time, etc.). People who are neither employed nor unemployed are considered to be not in the labor force.
Unemployment rate: Calculated by dividing the number of unemployed individuals by all individuals currently in the labor force.
Total number unemployed: number of people unemployed in America in the previous month.
Employment-population ratio: measures the proportion of the country's working-age population (ages 16 to 64) that is employed. This number includes people that have stopped looking for work.
Change by worker groups: whether the number of unemployed in that group increased or decreased.
Long-term unemployed: People who have been unemployed for 12 months or longer.
Civilian labor force participation rate: share of the population 16 years and older working or seeking work.
Persons employed part time for economic reasons: individuals who would have preferred full-time employment but were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
Discouraged workers: unemployed individuals who have stopped looking for work for one of four reasons:
- They believe no job is available to them in their line of work or area.
- They had previously been unable to find work.
- They lack the necessary schooling, training, skills, or experience.
- Employers think they are too young or too old, or they face some other type of discrimination.
Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. He also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).
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