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Economic Snapshot

Tuesday, October 1, 1996

3rd Quarter 1996

Q4-95 Q1-96 Q2-96 Q3-96
Growth Rate—Real Gross Domestic Product 0.3% 2.0% 4.7% 2.0%*
Inflation Rate—Consumer Price Index 2.4% 3.2% 3.8% 2.3%
Civilian Unemployment Rate 5.6% 5.6% 5.4% 5.2%

How does the federal government measure unemployment?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) conducts a monthly survey called the Current Population Survey. The BLS randomly chooses about 58,000 households to survey.

It counts people as unemployed if they:

  • Are not working, but have actively looked for work in the last month
  • Were laid off from their previous jobs and are waiting to be recalled by the same firms
  • Are waiting to start new jobs within the next month