6/7/16 Jobless Rate

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Last week’s jobs report stated the unemployment rate fell from five to 4.7%.  This is the best number in years.

Here’s what’s happening behind the headlines.

About 100 million Americans are out of work.  However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics — which issues the jobs report — claims only seven and a half million are unemployed.  This is true, according to the BLS definition.

Another 95 million are categorized by BLS as “not in the labor force.”

BLS labels anyone who has been unemployed for an extensive period as not in the labor force. The BLS moved more than 650,000 workers into this category from the unemployed ranks just last month.  This figure of nearly 95 million is the largest number of people listed as outside the labor force in U.S. history.  And its 11 million more people than at the lowest point during the Great Recession in 2009.

There’s more bad news.  The labor force participation rate is the percentage of able-bodied workers who have full-time or part-time jobs or are listed as unemployed.  Last month’s 62.7%, is one of the worst rates in four decades.

Let’s recap.  Fewer Americans are working.  A record-setting 95 million people are listed as “not in the labor force.”  And BLS tells us we have one of the best employment rates in years.

What do you think?


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