The Economy: The Long & Short of Jobs

In a complex and changing economy, the news is not always what it seems. Last week the Labor Department reported that unemployment jumped sharply in May, rising from 3.7% to 4% of the nation's work force. Bad news? Well, maybe not. The increase was welcomed in many quarters because it indicated another release valve on the nation's inflationary head of steam. Beyond that, closer inspection of statistics showed that the rise was expectable and explainable.

Student Rush. The jump in joblessness was caused almost wholly by full-time students looking for short-time work—high school and college youngsters who began last month...

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