U.S. Economic Performance and Alternative Labor Market Indicators

June 3, 2007

Unemployment and employment rates are the conventional indicators used to measure economic and labor market performance.

These "quantity" indicators do not reflect employment quality, a particularly important deficiency for judging U.S. performance because of high and rising wage inequality and an extremely high incidence of very low wage jobs. The authors present three alternative labor market indicators designed to measure some key dimensions of job quality: the low wage share of wage and salary employment, the underemployed share of the labor force, and the adequately employed share of the working age population.

Authors: David R. Howell and Mamadou Diallo
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