I'm not big on bitching about the Main Stream Media, largely because I don't claim that my blog contains anything resembling "news" and because and because I think that media, as an enterprise, is currently in such a state of flux that making any kind of statement or prediction about it is simply a waste of breath. That said, unemployment statistics have been in the news quite a bit for the last two years or more and, despite this, most people on the street don't seem to really understand what the "unemployment" rate really is.
They seem to think that is' some sort of job-debt or a basic arithmetic expression. Contrary to popular understanding, "unemployment" is a fairly complex statistic. The DoL doesn't simply take the population of the US and subtract how many jobs are available. One is only counted as unemployed if one meets a certain set of criteria. Notably, these criteria include being available for and able to work but do not heed the type of work that one is able to do. The be counted one must also apply for unemployment assistance.
If you've decided that your spouse is going to be the breadwinner and you're just going to stay home with the kids, you are not counted among the unemployed. This is true even if you'd rather be in the workplace than the home.
If you go back to school, you are not counted among the unemployed.
If you have a PhD in nuclear engineering, a culinary certification from Le Cordon Bleu or an Olympic gold medal but can only get a gig passing out flyers on a street corner, despite the fact that your skills are being radically under-utilized, you are not counted among the unemployed.
If you are on full disability or a pension, you are not counted among the unemployed even if you would like to have a job if one was available.
If you are in jail, you are not counted among the unemployed.
If you have started your own business but are not yet seeing profits, you are not counted among the unemployed (in most states).
If you are over the age of 62, you are not counted among the unemployed.
If you are under the age of 18, you are not counted among the unemployed (in most states).
If you are on unemployment assistance until the end of the maximum term and your benefits run out, you are not counted among the unemployed, even if you're still looking for a job.
The "unemployment rate" as so often reported in the news is only one of many economic indicators that can be used to parse out the state of the nation and it is mis-used by both politicians and pundits, to the detriment of the country at large. If we needed one metric, we would be better off with something that reflected standard of living, quality of life or general wellbeing. Unfortunately, those things are fairly hard to quantify and don't seem relevant to a nation bent on profit.
Be careful with who's advice you buy is all I'm sayin'"