- Reuters/J.P. Moczulski
March’s official unemployment rate unexpectedly rose to 5.0%.
Economists were expecting the unemployment rate to hold steady at 4.9%.
Still, most consider a 5% rate to indicate full employment.
While that number is accurate, however, it’s imprecise.
Because of rounding.
The civilian labor force, which is made up of employed people and those looking for jobs, totaled 159.286 million in February. Of those, 7.996 million were unemployed.
So based on those numbers, the unemployment rate is actually closer to 5.020%.
Back in February, there were 7.815 million unemployed Americans in a labor force of 158.890 million, which made the unemployment rate about 4.918%. (The officially reported number was 4.9%.)
So that technically makes March’s number a 0.102 percentage point increase from the previous month’s.