What do new job, unemployment numbers mean?

April 5, 2012 4:39:56 PM PDT
The latest job numbers show that more than 200,000 jobs were added nationwide last month - the fourth straight month of job growth. Also, the unemployment rate is at its lowest level in three years. But the statistics may not always mean what you think they do.

There's a saying that you make statistics say anything you want. So depending on how you look at the numbers, things --economically -- are getting better or there's still a very long way to go.

Daniel Racca was busy Thursday. At a job fair for veterans, the 26-year-old is looking for what's next. As a Marine, he did three tours in Iraq and has a bachelor's degree in history.

"It's been pretty difficult. Since I've been out, I went and got my degress at Sam Houston State and it's been pretty difficult since then. But that's why I am here -- a lot of good opportunities available," he said.

Racca knows that despite the 66 employers reaching out to job seekers in these halls on Thursday, finding work is tough.

"All across the nation. People from all shapes and sizes, all walks of life, everyone is looking work somewhere," he said.

Slowly, there seem to be signs of improvement. Unemployment numbers are slowly declining.

On Thursday, the number of those seeking unemployment benefits dropped to a four-year low. But what do all of these numbers mean?

"It really is just an indicator, not an answer," said Jamie Belinne, the assistant dean of career services at the University of Houston.

Belinne says the numbers are a broad overview of how the economy is faring and that you should look at all of the numbers together,-not just one set of them.

"It's not going to tell you exactly how many people have jobs, first of all, because it's taken from a sampling of the population," Belinne said.

Racca hopes he soon a statistic. For those looking who've found a job in an economy, that seems to be looking up.

"There's been worse times. There's been worse times. But I think it's a time where we have to look forward," Racca said.

As far as the requests for unemployment assistance go, Texas was -- surprisingly -- up more than any other state in the most recent weekly report with close to 4,200 new applications for help.


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