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The unemployment rate is a percentage designated to each state and the nation as a whole, which measures the total number of unemployed individuals in the labor force. Also termed the jobless rate, it is used as an indicator for growing trends in the economy as well as in the job market. Some economists claim that the jobless rate is not the best way to measure the health of an economy, due to the variety of factors that go into the calculations. For example, the jobless rate uses how many workers leave the labor market as a determining factor in lowering the percentage, but the reason why these workers leave is not taken into account. This means that retirees or individuals who abandon their job search are factored into lowering the unemployment rate, because they no longer are part of the overall labor force. Yet, despite the criticisms that unemployment rates bring, they are still used as an important tool to measure the state of the economy and the increases and decreases within individual business sectors. Analyzing the jobless rates within each state can indicate steps toward economic growth and improvements in the labor market, too. The rate also directly affects the opportunity for unemployment insurance program extensions.
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