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On today’s show, we ask: What does full employment really look like?
NPR sent reporters across the country, including to Ames, Iowa, the city with the lowest unemployment rate, to find out.
The unemployment rate is just 3.6% in the U.S., a 50-year low. People think we are at, or near, full employment. That’s the lowest the unemployment rate can go without triggering inflation. And when the labor market is that tight, power shifts from employers to workers. When unemployment is low, workers can threaten to quit and their bosses have to take that threat seriously. That’s what leads to raises.