We have heard plenty of news stories in the past few years about the unemployment numbers and strength of the job market. Every quarter, or every three months, the government publishes the latest employment figures, taking into account state and federal employment number totals. Many take these employment numbers to mean that the economy is improving and that many job seekers are finding employment again. This is actually not the case. The quarterly employment statistics fail to accurately report the true unemployment rate.
Pittsburgh has a lower than average unemployment rate, according to pittsburghtoday.org. The current unemployment rate is reported to be 5.3% as of July of this year. Manufacturing and industrial companies have been flocking back to Pittsburgh in recent years, as well as many of the gas and oil companies, such as Chevron, have been setting up shop in Pennsylvania, and in western Pennsylvania in particular. However, not all of the employment numbers are promising. National statistics can be confusing at best.
According to msnbc.com, when a displaced worker’s unemployment benefits run out, they are no longer included in the labor force. Illegal immigrants are also excluded from employment data. Since members of the military are not considered civilian workers, they are not included as employed or unemployed. However, msnbc.com cites that working members of the military only drop the “unemployment rate by about one tenth of one percent.” Some may debate this number.
Care2.com states that in April of this year, approximately 806,000 job seekers have given up and stopped looking for employment, and 2 million people had their unemployment benefits run out due to the government unemployment extensions being discontinued. This group is not counted in the labor statistics. Another alarming statistic is that approximately 1/3 of breast cancer survivors remain unemployed after years of being cancer free, according to a study done by the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center. This is a concern for people who are or have dealt with health concerns and attempting to reenter the workforce after a bout with cancer or the treatment thereof.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by their own definition, the “basic concept of employment and unemployment” is this:
• People with jobs are employed.
• People who are jobless, looking for a job, and available for work, are unemployed.
• The Labor force is made up of the employed and the unemployed.
• People who are neither employed nor unemployed are not in the labor force.
There are numerous reasons for the inaccuracy of the true employment statistics. Those of which can be found simply by some minor research.
As a side note, job seekers in the Pittsburgh area looking for work may want to follow Jobs in Pittsburgh, @JobsPittsburgh1 on Twitter. They are constantly tweeting available job openings with various companies all over the Pittsburgh area.