High-Stakes Musical Chairs: Fixing the Downward Bias in the Unemployment Rate
By Jared Bernstein
October 10, 2014
Ever since the JOLTS (Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey) came into existence, labor market analysts have looked at the ratio of unemployed to job openings. In fact, the BLS publishes that very metric monthly (see chart 1 here). My old EPI colleague Jeff Wenger used to call it the “musical chairs” number, as when it goes up (high levels of job seekers per job), you can envision a bunch of folks trying to get the one seat/job when the music stops.
My parents’ closest friends had a son, Jamil, who was almost exactly my age. We were playmates during a large portion of my early childhood. While we weren’t in the same class, we attended the same school. We were together during recess and lunch. We went on vacations together and we spent our summers at the beach together. My dad and his had purchased adjoining beach bungalows. Continue reading