In December, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent and total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 252,000.
The unemployment rate is a broad, though somewhat crude measure of how workers are faring in the economy. It does not count discouraged workers, nor does it measure under-employment (for example, workers who want a full-time job but can only find part-time work). Making these adjustments would bring the measured unemployment rate up to 11.4%. But even an adjusted unemployment rate says nothing about the quality of jobs in the economy. This last point is particularly important to keep in mind, given the growth of non-standard (temporary and/or contingent) jobs in the U.S. economy.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, The Employment Situation.
Updated 1/12/2015 by IAM&AW Strategic Resources Department