US Employers Add Strong 222K Jobs; Jobless Rate at 4.4 Pct.

All the corporate media seem to be carrying this story. Here is an article in U.S. News that is typical, US Employers Add Strong 222K Jobs; Jobless Rate at 4.4 Pct.

The proportion of adults with jobs has reached 60.1 percent, just below April’s figure, which was the highest since the recession ended in 2009.

When the numbers seem to tell a different story from the one that many people experience, it makes me wonder what could be wrong with the numbers. I think I have figured it out.

When one job per family was enough to support a middle class lifestyle, this method of measuring unemployment gave a reasonably accurate measure of how the economy was doing. When it takes 2 to 4 or more jobs per family to support a middle-class lifestyle, the way we measure full employment needs to be changed. If 100% of adults had a job, but it took four jobs to support a family, than a two earner family would only be 50% employed, or 50% unemployed compared to what would be needed to support a robust economy. In such a circumstance, the traditional measure of employment would say that there was 100% employment. If the number by the traditional measurement could be off by a factor of two, wouldn’t someone wake up to the fact that we aren’t measuring the right thing?

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