This is a short reading, concentrating on the language used to describe changes in the economy.

Read the title of the newspaper article. What does the phrase ‘the basic arithmetic’ mean. Discuss this with your partner. What do you think the article will discuss, based on this headline?

Read through the paragraph two or three times and then answer the questions.

The US economy and jobs: the basic arithmetic

Economics pundits veer wildly from elation to despair. The reality is that jobs and growth will improve – just not nearly enough

Last week's May jobs numbers were bad news, regardless of how you look at them. Job growth over the last three months has averaged slightly less than 100,000 a month, roughly the rate needed to keep pace with labour force growth. The unemployment rate ticked up to 8.2% and the employment to population ratio is still just 0.4 percentage points above its trough for the downturn. And real wages almost certainly declined in May.

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