Unemployment numbers don’t say it all about the job market – an interview with CNET

On Behalf of | Nov 14, 2022 | Wages & Hours

The majority of employment analysts rely on unemployment rates to feel out the job market. But the problem with that is these statistics don’t actually mean as much as some experts seem to want to believe. New studies have taken a more holistic approach and revealed the truth about how the job market is really doing in New York.

Unemployment vs.underemployment

In an interview with CNET, employment law attorney Darren Rumack, a partner with The Klein Law Group, P.C., said, “The market is hurting in ways that the statistics don’t necessarily reflect.” There are several other key indicators that must be considered to get the full picture of the job market’s health.

One of these is underemployment, which is when people are working jobs that don’t harness their existing abilities to the fullest. Underemployment also refers to jobs that don’t pay enough for workers to get themselves out of poverty.

People who make their living in the gig economy, such as freelance workers or independent contractors, are still considered to be employed regardless of how little they are working. It doesn’t matter how sustainable their earnings are; they’re still counted as employed if you just look at unemployment figures. This can also be the case with those who are working part-time jobs.

And then there are those who aren’t searching for a job at all. These individuals don’t factor into the unemployment numbers.

New research reveals the truth behind the numbers

One nonprofit research center, the Ludwig Institute for Shared Economic Prosperity, has concentrated its employment law efforts on families in the lower- to middle-level income groups. Research from groups like this has recently shown that even when times are at their best, many of the jobs that people have available to them aren’t enough to provide financial security.

Determining the health of the job market isn’t just a question of whether or not there is work. It also matters what kind of work is out there – and if it pays well enough for workers to sustainably support themselves and their families. These underemployment issues continue to persist, hitting vulnerable demographics the hardest.