The 'Real' U.S. Unemployment Rate Is the Lowest It's Been Since December of 2007

ashley.rae | April 7, 2017
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The unemployment rate in March 2017 was 4.5 percent, down from 4.7 percent in February 2017, marking two straight months of job growth.

For men 20 and older, the unemployment rate stayed at a constant 4.3 percent between February and March. Women aged 20 and older fared better, with the unemployment rate dropping from 4.3 percent to 4.0 percent.

The white unemployment rate decreased from 4.1 percent to 3.9 percent, while the unemployment rate for Latinos decreased from 5.6 to 5.1 percent, black unemployment dropped from 8.1 percent to 8.0 percent, and Asian unemployment dropped from 3.4 to 3.3 percent.

For teenagers aged 16 to 19, the unemployment rate fell from 15.0 percent to 13.7 percent.

But the official unemployment rate, known as the U3 unemployment rate, only measures the percent of the civil labor force that is unemployed and have actively looked for work in the past four weeks. The "real" unemployment rate, known as the U6 unemployment rate, includes discouraged workers, people who are not actively looking for work because they have not been able to find a job, and people who work part-time but want to work full-time.

Like the U3 rate, the U6 unemployment rate also shows continued job growth between February and March. In February, the U6 unemployment rate was 9.2 percent. By March, it was 8.9 percent.

According to Reuters, the U6 unemployment rate in March was the lowest level on record since Dec. 2007. A graph provided by CNBC shows the U6 unemployment rate in Dec. 2007 was 8.8 percent.

(Image source: CNBC)

Image source: CBBC)

The chart provided on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website also shows the U6 unemployment rate is the lowest since Dec. 2007:

While the unemployment rate decreased between February and March, the labor force participation rate stayed at 63.0 percent, up from 62.9 in January.

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