Reading through the news today, two big headlines caught my eye. We've hit all time lows in the US for two very different things: birth rates and unemployment.
US Birth Rate Hovers Around All-Time Low
The most exciting part about this isn't the fact that the birth rate is around an all time low, it's the reasons that the birth rate has remained there: because people are making positive changes to child birth conditions.
The article highlights a lot of bad trends decreasing, from teen pregnancy to misuse of artificial forms of birth control to have multiples. It's not that fewer people are choosing to have kids, it's that people who don't want kids are getting better at it, which means a reduction in unwanted kids growing up in poor living situations. Which means a smarter, better adjusted, more productive populace. Which means good things.
However, it also highlights that people are having a harder time getting jobs, and so they're having kids later (which, might in theory be better for the family): "Birth rates for women in their 20s declined to record lows in 2013, but rose for women in their 30s and late 40s. The rate for women in their early 40s was unchanged."
US Unemployment Lowest Rate in 7 Years
The US unemployment rate stayed at 5.4 percent for April, marking the lowest level in seven years. In October of 2009, the rate was at 10%, which is so much higher than today that positive change can clearly be reflected. Or can it?
There's good news and bad news hidden in here. The record low participation rate and record high numbers of people who are not counted as unemployed because they are being hidden on disability are extremely concerning to anyone who looks past the single unemployment number.
It's not only the unemployment rate that is at the lowest in 7 years, but the employment rate is also the lowest--which is incredibly concerning.