New column: The real jobless rate

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I’ve got a column online and in the issue of TIME with the Year in Pictures on the cover. It’s about measuring unemployment. In it I cite a Bureau of Labor Statistics study that found that what people said about their interest in getting a job wasn’t all that predictive of whether they’d actually get one down the road. It’s here if you want to read it. Also, my column is the spiritual descendant of a column David Leonhardt wrote in 2008, so you might want to read that. And finally, while my column is about how the actual state of the job market is considerably more grim than the headline unemployment rate indicates, I really do think there’s a chance we’ve hit bottom. If you want to read Dan Gross making an even stronger case for optimism on that front than I would, be my guest.