It’s the first Friday of the month again, which means the Bureau of Labor Statistics is releasing its jobs numbers this morning. The American economy added just 115,000 jobs in April, fewer than what economists were expecting, but the unemployment rate still dropped from 8.2 percent to 8.1 percent. So, why the dip? The unemployment rate only counts the number of people who have no jobs, and are looking for jobs, not people who have part-time jobs who are looking for full-time work, or people who want jobs, but have given up looking for work because they have been discouraged by the job market, or feel like they lack the skills needed to get a job. If you include these people in the unemployment rate, the seasonally adjusted rate is currently 14.5 percent (the U-6 rate seen in the chart above), the same as it was in March, but less than it was in January. (Seasonally adjusted means it accounts for underlying trends during certain times of the year, for example, the holiday months when more people have jobs because stores are busier.)
Another notable thing: Remember our discussion about the value of college degrees earlier this week? The numbers today show that the unemployment rate (seasonally adjusted) for high school graduates with no college degree is 7.9 percent. The unemployment rate for college graduates is 4 percent. Well, then.