The national unemployment rate fell to 4.4 percent in April, the Labor Department said Friday. But relying on that one headline number as an indicator for the economy as a whole ignores important information just below the surface.
Each month on "Jobs Friday," the Bureau of Labor Statistics puts out a trove of economic data, each of which provides its own perspective on the labor market and the employment situation. Economists look past the official unemployment rate — that 4.4 percent figure, also known as the "U-3" — to other metrics that give their own view of jobs in the country.
One of those figures is called the U-6 rate, which has a broader definition of unemployment than does the U-3. In April, that number fell three-tenths of a point to 8.6 percent.