By HEIDI STEINEGGER
The Labor Department released the August figures of hiring and unemployment this morning.
The statistics showed that in August alone, 156,000 jobs, lower than the anticipated 180,000, were created and the unemployment rate reached 4.4 percent, coming up from 4.3 percent in July.
With unemployment near its lowest rate in almost 16 years, the question now shifts from how to lower the unemployment rate to how we can make sure those workers laid off during the recession are re-entering the job market.
While the media typically focuses on numbers and figures when it comes to the unemployment rate in the U.S., I find it more effective to investigate the aftershocks of those numbers and figures in order to assess how the job market is recovering from the recession.
With more job openings available now than ever before in the past 16 years, the number of American adults looking for jobs remains about the same year to year. Why is that? Could it be that the recession forced many into early retirement? The numbers state otherwise.
In the wake of the Great Recession, millions of would-be retirees continued working much later into their lives. The labor force participation rate among adults at least 55 years old was climbing from the Great Recession up until October 2012 when it leveled off at 40.7 percent.
While many factors are at play with jobs and unemployment, I believe one of them could be the media’s focus towards exactly that, unemployment. With the unemployment rate at its lowest in the past 16 years, wouldn’t it be better to stop focusing on that number and start mentioning how many jobs are being created every month?
The public is better off being educated about jobs they could be going out and getting, and how many have re-entered the job market after the Great Recession, rather than the overall unemployment rate of the country.