The official unemployment rate is still low, but today’s New York Times explains why the seemingly low rate may mask more serious economic problems:

Men in the prime of their working lives are now less likely to have jobs than they were during all but one recession of the last 60 years. Most of them do not qualify as unemployed, but they are nonetheless without jobs.

The unemployment rate paints a less gloomy picture. Among men ages 25 to 54 — a range that starts after most people finish their education and ends well before most people retire — the unemployment rate is 4.1 percent. That is not especially low, but it is well below the peak rate in all but one post-World War II recession. . .

But there is another rate — called the jobless rate in this article — that counts the proportion of people without jobs. . .

In the latest report, for March, the Labor Department reported the jobless rate — also called the “not employed rate” by some — at 13.1 percent for men in the prime age group. Only once during a post-World War II recession did the rate ever get that high. It hit 13.3 percent in June 1982, the 12th month of the brutal 1981-82 recession, and continued to rise from there.