Self-Check Questions


Suppose the adult population over the age of 16 is 237.8 million and the labor force is 153.9 million (of whom 139.1 million are employed). How many people are not in the labor force? What are the proportions of employed, unemployed, and not in the labor force in the population? Hint—Proportions are percentages.


Using the above data, what is the unemployment rate? These data are U.S. statistics from 2010. How does it compare to the February 2015 unemployment rate computed earlier?


Over the long term, has the U.S. unemployment rate generally trended upward, trended downward, or remained at basically the same level?


Whose unemployment rates are commonly higher in the U.S. economy:

  1. Whites or nonwhites?
  2. The young or the middle-aged?
  3. College graduates or high school graduates?

Beginning in the 1970s and continuing for three decades, women entered the U.S. labor force in a big way. If we assume that wages are sticky downward but that around 1970 the demand for labor equaled the supply of labor at the current wage rate, what do you imagine happened to the wage rate, employment, and unemployment as a result of increased labor force participation?


Is the increase in labor force participation rates among women better thought of as causing an increase in cyclical unemployment or an increase in the natural rate of unemployment? Why?


Many college students graduate from college before they have found a job. When graduates begin to look for a job, they are counted as what category of unemployed?