How the Government Measures

How the Government Measures Unemployment

Why does the government collect statistics on the unemployed?

When workers do not work, they, their families, and the world as a whole are lost. Workers and their families lose wages, and the world loses products or services that can be created. Otherwise, the purchasing power of these workers is lost, which can lead to the unemployment of other workers.

Addressing the issue of unemployment requires knowledge of the magnitude and nature of the problem. How many unemployed people? How did they fail to work? How long did they not work? Are their numbers increasing or decreasing? Are they men or women? Young or old? Are they white, or black, or Asian, or Spanish? How much do they teach? Are they more popular in one part of the world than in another? These figures – along with other economic factors – can be used by lawmakers to determine if any action should be taken to affect the future of the economy or to help those affected by poverty.

Where do the statistics come from?

At the beginning of each month, the Bureau of Employee Statistics (BLS) announced. These numbers, especially unemployment – which tells you the share of unemployed workers – are featured in the news.

Some people think that to get these numbers in terms of unemployment, the government uses several people who take unreliable benefits (UI) under state or federal programs. But some people are still unemployed after their benefits have passed, and the other two are not all eligible or reimbursed or do not even include benefits. And, UI data cannot be used as a source to fully understand the number of unemployed.

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