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U.S. Unemployment Rate

Donna Sayphraraj, Staff Writer

At the end of April, the U.S. unemployment rate was at 4.4%—the lowest since May 2007. According to statistics released by the labor department, the U.S. added over 200,000 jobs in April, and around 80,000 in March.

In contrast, the end of the Great Recession saw a 10% unemployed workforce at the end of 2009. The low current unemployment rate indicates that the U.S. is reaching full employment of the workforce; this means that, as it becomes harder to find workers, employers must raise wages, thus leading to a rise in average payroll.

In the time that President Trump has taken office, three jobs reports have been released by the labor department, amounting to over 500,000 jobs created. While President Trump takes credit for these gains, economists argue that the increase in jobs is based more on the increased health of the global economy than on President Trump’s yet to be undertaken promises for tax cuts, infrastructure, and deregulation.

Although the job market has improved dramatically, there are still issues to watch out for. President Trump himself claims that the true unemployment rate is around 40%, and that there are over 90 million Americans who are unemployed and have given up job searching. While such claims are unfounded, it is true that many Americans between the ages of 25 and 54—an age considered ‘prime’ for employment—remain out of work due to a lack of crucial skills demanded by current job opportunities. These workers, called ‘sidelined’, often find it difficult to regain employment, as they have not worked in years.

Furthermore, 14 million people who wish to have full-time jobs are unable to find them, and within that number there remains 5.3 million Americans who, although employed, are working in part-time jobs they do not necessarily wish to have. Regions Financial Corporation Chief Economist Richard Moody asserts that there should only be around 13 million people searching for full time employment in a truly healthy economy.

However, the reported unemployment rate is reassuring in an uncertain time, and signifies just how far the economy has come since the Great Recession. President Trump has often declared that he has a method for bringing back marginalized Americans to the workforce; hopefully, the number of people searching for full time employment will gradually decrease.

Photo courtesy of OBAMAWHITEHOUSE.GOV

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U.S. Unemployment Rate