ECON 1101 – Macroeconomics Fall 2014
ASSIGNMENT Current Labor Market Situation
• Go to www.bls.gov
• Click on Economic Releases – Employment and Unemployment
• Select “Employment Situation” PDF format
• Review/Print pages 1 – 8 and answer the following questions.
• Questions on the Labor Force from the Household Survey: Please use Seasonally Adjusted data where indicated.
• What was the official unemployment rate reported for October 2014 and the total number of unemployed workers?
• How many people worked part-time for economic reasons (also known as ‘involuntary part time workers’) in Oct. 2014?
• How many people were marginally attached to the labor force in Oct. 2014?
• How many were discouraged workers?
• How many people were classified as long term unemployed – unemployed for 27 weeks or more?
• Look at the page of the release that indicates the unemployment rates for each level of educational attainment. Specifically, what were the unemployment rates in Oct. 2014 for those with less than H.S., with a H.S. diploma; some college, and a bachelor’s degree or higher)? Indicate by how much these rates compare with the rates in October 2013.
• Labor Force Participation Rates
Click on the following link: http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000/ to answer the following:
• Look at the table that follows the graph. What was the labor force participation rate in October 2004 and in October 2014? By how much has this rate changed since Oct. 2004?
• Questions on Payroll jobs from the Establishment Survey
Go to the page of the Employment Situation Summary that provides data on job changes; look specifically at the last column in the table – October 2014. This column indicates changes in payroll employment overall and by industry from the previous month. (You do not need to do any calculations here)
• How many total (seasonally adjusted) payroll jobs were created in Oct. 2014 from the previous month?
• How many jobs specifically were added or lost in each of the following major industry categories from October 2013 through October 2014?
• professional and business services
• financial activities
• government (overall)
• Education and health services
• temporary help services
• Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization
Go to http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t15.htm (Table A-15 Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization) and answer the following questions:
• Which one of the six measures of unemployment indicated in the table (U1 through U6) represents the official measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics?
• By how much did this official measure change from Oct. 2013 through Oct. 2014?
• Of all of the measures in the table – U1 through U6 – which one shows the greatest decline (use seasonally adjusted data) from Oct. 2013 – Oct. 2014?
• If marginally attached workers, discouraged workers, and those who are working part-time for economic reasons were included in the official unemployment rate, what would that rate have been for Oct. 2014? Which one of the six measures reflects this rate?
V. Analysis of data in the context of current economic conditions
Read the article that follows, “Explaining the decline in the U.S. labor force participation rate” by Daniel Aaronson, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and provide clearly explained answers to the following questions.
• What specific demographic changes led to the increase in the labor force participation rate from the mid 1960’s through the late 1990’s?
• To what factors does Aaronson attribute the decline in the nation’s labor force participation rate since year 2000?
• What are the observed and projected changes in the labor force participation rates of male and female college graduates and male and female high school graduates (pg. 2)? To what are these trends attributed?
• What are the labor force participation rate projections through 2020? What demographic changes does Aaronson attribute to these projected changes?
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