The national unemployment rate rose slightly to 5 percent in September, the Labor Department reported Friday. But relying on that one headline number as an indicator of the economy's direction leaves a lot of important information below the surface.
Every month on "Big Jobs Friday," the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a boatload of data, each point of which provides its own unique perspective on a facet of the nation's employment situation. Economists look past the official unemployment rate — that 5 percent figure, which is known as the "U-3" rate — to other metrics that provide their own nuanced views of the state of jobs.
One of those figures is called the U-6 rate, which has a broader definition of what unemployment means. That figure remained unchanged at 9.7 percent in September.