The national unemployment rate fell to 4.9 percent in October, the Labor Department said Friday. But relying on that one headline number as an indicator of the economy's direction ignores important information just below the surface.
Every month on "Jobs Friday," the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases a bunch of data, each point of which provides its own unique perspective on an aspect of the nation's employment situation. Economists look past the official unemployment rate — that 4.9 percent figure, also known as the "U-3" rate — to other metrics that give their own nuanced view of jobs in the country.
One of those figure is called the U-6 rate, which has a broader definition of what unemployment means. In October, that figure fell 0.2 of a point, to 9.5 percent.