Economic Snapshot

Fourth Quarter 2009

  Q1-’09 Q2-’09 Q3-’09 Q4-’09
Growth Rate—Real Gross Domestic Product –6.4% –0.7% 2.20% 5.9%*
Inflation Rate—Consumer Price Index –2.2% 1.9% 3.7% 2.6%
Civilian Unemployment Rate 8.2% 9.3% 9.6% 10.0%

*Second estimate


What is the unemployment rate?

The unemployment rate represents the number of unemployed as a percent of the labor force. People are classified as unemployed if they are 16 years or older, do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the previous four weeks and are currently available for work. People who were not working and were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been temporarily laid off are also included as unemployed.



What is the relationship between the unemployment rate and the level of education people have?

The relationship is negative or indirect. The less education people have, the more likely they are to be unemployed.


In 2008, what percent of high school dropouts were unemployed?

9 percent


In 2008, what percent of those with bachelor’s degrees were unemployed?

2.8 percent


What is the relationship between level of education and median income?

The relationship is positive or direct. The more education people have, the higher their median income.


Who makes up the labor force?

The labor force includes the employed and unemployed who are 16 years of age or older and who are not confined to institutions such as nursing homes and prisons, and who are not on active duty in the Armed Forces. The remainder—those who have no job and are not looking for one—are counted as “not in the labor force.”



SOURCE: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current Population Survey

NOTE: Data are 2008 annual averages for persons age 25 and over. Earnings are for full-time wage and salary workers. Last modified date: Dec. 22, 2009


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