bureau of labor statistics

What's the Real Unemployment Number?

Last week, jobs went up by a hair, but somehow, unemployment plummeted by a lot. What gives? The answer lies in the quirky way the Bureau of Labor Statistics decides who gets counted as part of the work force, who gets counted as officially unemployed, and who gets left out of the picture.

People@Work: Construction Job Growth Is Slowly Rebuilding

New forecasts show that the worst may be over for the construction industry, which was hit harder by the Great Recession than any other sector, as construction projects slowly resume. Some 27% of construction firms say they plan to add staff this year, while only 20% plan to cut jobs.

Mending Labor Markets Aren't Healing Chronic Joblessness

Amid some promising signs -- which are turning the heads of even some bears -- structural unemployment continues to be painful as the ranks of the long-term jobless keep swelling. This is a distinction that should be far more central to government policy than it currently is.

What the Rising Stock Market Doesn't Say About Jobs

If the stock market reflected the entire economy, happy days would surely be here again. But, alas, it reflects just the profit potential of public companies. And for millions of unemployed Americans, that's proving to be no help at all.

Why Dow 11,000 Is Worth a Lot Less Now Than in 2001

When adjusted for inflation, the current stock market hasn't recovered nearly as much as it seems if look at only nominal prices. At best (reinvesting all dividends from a "share" of the 2001 Dow), you've gained 3.6%. Otherwise, you're down by some 23%.

Most States Reported Higher Joblessness in August

Last month, 27 states lost jobs, while 10 states and Washington, D.C., had no rate change from July, according to the report. Overall unemployment was down slightly from the 9.7% rate in August 2009, the BLS said.

Temp Market Shows Hints of a Hiring Revival

While the U.S. unemployment rate has remained frustratingly high, the sector specializing in short-term and freelance jobs has taken on a split personality of sorts. Demand for contractors is ticking upward, but pay rates are going the other way.

What If Unemployment Is Really 22%?

Private pollsters and economists are piling up statistics showing the government's official jobless rate is becoming more and more of a fiction. And that's not helping solve the problem that's No. 1 for most Americans.

People@Work: A Teenage Wasteland for Employment Opportunity

"This could end up being the worst teen summer job market in employment records going back to 1948," says Challenger, Gray & Christmas CEO John A. Challenger. Among those aged 16 to 19, the jobless rate is now 29%, triple the overall rate.

People@Work: Today's Independent Workers Need a Safety Net

Freelancers like to work how and when they want. But that flexibility entails more than a few downfalls. A new Freelancers Union's report shows 81% of independents had little or no work, 40% had trouble collecting wages from clients, and 39% had either cut back or ended health coverage.

Children and Workers Among 40 Million U.S. Poor

Poverty is growing in the recession, with nearly 40 million Americans living at or below the official poverty level in 2008. That figure includes more than 14 million children and a growing class of "working poor."

Too Much Hope? Why Obama's Budget Is Unrealistic

The $3.8 trillion spending plan combines overly rosy projections of rapidly rising tax revenues with skyrocketing outlays in defense, entitlements and other mandatory spending, creating structural deficits above $1 trillion for a long time. Ending Bush-era tax cuts on the rich won't change that reality.

How Misleading GDP Raises Risks

The 3.5 percent GDP increase in the third quarter signaled to many that the recession had ended. But that figure was revised downward to 2.8 percent, and revised again to 2.2 percent: a 37 percent reduction that calls into question the data collection process and the value of these 'headline' numbers.

What's the "Real" Jobless Rate?

Although it seems like toting up the numbers should be fairly straightforward, it turns out to be a complicated calculation, thanks to several inherent difficulties. For starters, unemployment is a snapshot of a moving target.

Time for Staffing Company Stocks?

Investors should ignore the broader jobs debate and hone in on one aspect that seems indisputably strong: the pickup in temp hiring. And more hiring in that area could be good for Manpower and Robert Half International.

Deaths drop, suicides spike at work

Workplace deaths are down 10 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unfortunately, the number of suicides jumped 28 percent in 2008,...