This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

New Fed chair's 'dashboard' of job-market gauges


WASHINGTON (AP) a¿¿ The Federal Reserve on Wednesday downplayed the unemployment rate as a guide to the U.S. economy's health. But Janet Yellen, the new Fed chair, didn't leave investors in the dark.

Instead, she listed five gauges that make up her "dashboard" for tracking the economy. She also specified, in some cases, when those measures would signal a healthy economy.

The issue arose because Fed policymakers, like many economists, worry that the unemployment rate might be overstating the health of the economy. The rate has fallen by a full percentage point in the past year. But much of the drop occurred because fewer Americans are working or looking for work. The government doesn't count people as unemployed unless they're actively searching for jobs.

For those who want to track the economy along with Yellen, here are the items she listed during a news conference Wednesday, her first as Fed chair:

a¿¿ THE U-6:

It might sound like the name of an Irish rock band. But it's a broader measure of the job market. It includes not only the unemployed but also those working part time who would prefer full-time work and those who have stopped searching for jobs. Last month, the U-6 rate was 12.6 percent, much higher than the unemployment rate of 6.7 percent. Yellen said the number of Americans forced to work part time is "unusually large." It suggests that she believes the Fed could do more to boost the economy.


One particularly brutal aspect of the Great Recession and its aftermath is that millions of laid-off people have struggled to find jobs. In April 2010, 45 percent of the unemployed had been out of work for six months or longer, a record. This proportion has since declined to 37 percent. But that's still far higher than the pre-recession figure of just 17 percent. Yellen said it "has been immensely high and can be very stubborn" to bring down.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,813.39 +1.20 0.01%
S&P 500 2,088.87 -0.27 -0.01%
NASDAQ 5,116.1430 +13.3350 0.26%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs