Beneath the clear benefits of the economic expansion, however, there is an undertow of anxiety, heightened recently by fears of slowing growth around the globe and in the United States.

"We're not focusing enough on the people who have continued to be left behind by this recovery," said Martha Gimbel, a manager of economic research at Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative. "We have not talked enough about the workers who are still stuck even in a labor market that is this competitive."

Most of these people do not show up in the stunningly low official unemployment rate, which was 3.6 percent in October. Working even one hour during the week when the Labor Department does its employment survey keeps you out of the jobless category.

We love statements like this last part. The "3.6% unemployment rate" isn't "stunning" if it is juiced with people working 1 hour per week. This is why we've long considered the headline unemployment rate around here near-meaningless, and advocate that it should be weighted by fractional percentage of full time positions. I.e., it should take 40 people working 1 hour per week to equal one "employed" person, for the purposes of calculating the headline rate. But this is unlikely to change, since every politician who gets into power (including the current "populist") has an overwhelming incentive to use the current, bogus statistics for preening...

there are also many others, like Ms. Ward, who work temporary jobs for months at a time and are not necessarily captured in either measure. And millions of contract workers -- freelancers, consultants, Lyft drivers -- lack benefits, regular schedules and job security. They have found a foothold, but it rests on loose rock.

A recent survey by Gallup found that a majority of Americans do not consider themselves to be in a "good job."

Appealing to "Americans on the sidelines" and those who had not benefited from the "so-called recovery" was a key element of Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2016. Now, Democratic presidential contenders like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are arguing that American workers have barely shared in the economy's gains.

And they have bypassed benchmark statistics like the unemployment rate, and focused instead on the system's fundamental unfairness, highlighting stark income inequality and worker rights.

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