Weekend headline regarding last weeks jobs data:
Jobless Rate Falls Further
Hiring Springs Back, But Data Mask a Troubling Rise in People Dropping Out of the Labor Force
What the headline would have been if a Republican were President:
More Americans Give Up Looking for Work
Upbeat Drop in Unemployment Rate Masks Darker Reality
In case you didn't have time to read it, private sector hiring was up 192,000 jobs in February. Hooray! The unemployment rate fell below 9% (to 8.9%) for the first time since April 2009 (n.b. after passage of the stimulus bill). But, that was only because the labor force participation rate, which inversely measures how many people have given up looking for work, fell to 64.2%. That rate is down from 66% in December 2007, when the recession began, and is stuck at its lowest level since the mid-1980s. Overall, he number of workers on US payrolls is down 7.5 million from the number at the recession's start. In sum, if so many people--mostly men--hadn't dropped out of the labor force, and the number of people in the labor force were the same as when the recession began, the unemployment rate would have been 11.5%. Yikes!