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Poll: Does the unemployment rate reflect reality?

Job seeker fills out an employment application at

Job seeker fills out an employment application at a Long Island career fair. Credit: Heather Walsh, 2012

Is the unemployment rate a good indictator of the job market’s health?

Long Island's unemployment rate continued a string of big year-over-year declines in July, falling to 6.2 percent from 7.8 percent in July 2012, state Labor Department figures show. While down from last year, the local rate remains above pre-recession levels. It was 4.1 percent in July 2007, before the national recession began.

Despite the year-over-year improvement, some economists caution that the unemployment report doesn't capture two big underlying characteristics of the employment market: The report doesn't include discouraged workers, those who have stopped hunting for a job because they don't believe they can find one. And it doesn't speak to the predominance of lower-wage jobs, which have characterized the recovery.

What do you think? Vote and leave a comment. Results and a selection of comments will be published in next Sunday's paper.

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