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Economics

Yellen's Philosophy: The More Jobs Data, the Better

The Fed chief goes beyond the jobless statistic to craft policy
Janet Yellen in Washington on July 2
Janet Yellen in Washington on July 2Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The unemployment rate, now down to 6.1 percent, indicates strong job growth and a rebounding economy. But Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen doesn’t rely on that figure—which measures unemployment as a share of the total labor force—as her sole guide to the job market’s health. In crafting monetary policy, she pays close attention to an array of other gauges on what’s known as Yellen’s jobs dashboard.

Yellen monitors nearly a dozen indicators to assess the labor market’s health. Among them are long-term unemployment and the quits rate—the number of workers leaving their jobs voluntarily in a month as a share of total employment. Together the indicators give a fuller picture of how U.S. workers have fared in the five years since the recession ended.