Bipartisan Briefing: Modernizing America’s Unemployment Rate

2237 Rayburn House Building Washington, DC 

Dec 10, 2014

2:00 PM (GMT-5)


Rep. John Conyers, the Congressional Full Employment Caucus, and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick

*Complimentary Cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake will be provided

Co-hosted by Rep. John Conyers, the Congressional Full Employment Caucus, and Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick, sponsor of H.R. 4171, the Labor Statistics Improvement Act

According to the latest unemployment figures, America has seen 10.9 million jobs created over 57 consecutive months of job growth, bringing the official unemployment rate down to 5.8 percent from its peak of 10 percent during the Great Recession.  But policymakers across the political spectrum recognize that the official unemployment rate fails to reflect the true state of economic opportunity in America.  As of November 2014, there are still more than two job-seekers for every single job opening. More than 16 million Americans continue to seek full-time work, including 7 million part-time workers who want full-time work. Another 5.77 million Americans want a job but have become too discouraged to keep searching.  

This panel will provide background on how the unemployment rate and other labor underutilization rates are calculated and take an in-depth look at the current state of the labor market in America today. Panelists will examine how well the unemployment figures reflect the reality for American workers on the ground, whether the figures adequately inform the public and policymakers about the employment situation, and discuss potential ways the statistical measures could be modernized and improved.


Erica Groshen

Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor

Diana Furchtgott-Roth

Director of Economics21, Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, former chief economist of the U.S. Department of Labor under President George W. Bush

Alan Krueger

Bendheim Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, Princeton University, Former Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama

Elise Gould

Senior Economist, Economic Policy Institute

Moderated by: Nicole Woo, Director of Domestic Policy, Center for Economic and Policy Research

To RSVP for the event, or to request more information, please contact Erik Sperling at Rep. Conyers’ office at[email protected] or 5-5126, or Jeff Wieand at Rep. Fitzpatrick’s office at[email protected] or ext. 5-4276.

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