WASHINGTON, D.C. – The unemployment rate dropped by .10 percent in March but even one of Obama’s biggest cheerleaders, NBC, reports there is little to cheer about.
Allison Linn reported on the network’s web site: “The unemployment rate dipped to 7.6 percent in March, from 7.7 percent a month earlier, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. But the drop came as nearly 500,000 Americans left the labor force, meaning they stopped working or looking for work and were no longer counted in the official employment numbers.”
A look at recent statistics reveals a picture of a so called economic recovery that has not translated into what should always follow such an upturn – jobs. Since President Obama took office in his first term, 9,460,000 people have dropped out of the labor force. Usually when less people are reported in the work force the unemployment numbers drop accordingly. Now with approaching 10 million less workers to be counted, employment rate have improved little.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a record 89,967,000 Americans were not in the labor force in March. That represents an increase of 663,000 from the 89,304,000 Americans who were not in the labor force in February.
The BLS considers a person as not in the civilian labor force if they are at least sixteen years old; are not in the military or an institution such as a prison, mental hospital, or nursing home; and have not actively sought a job in the last four weeks.
The number of people that BLS considers “in the labor force” affects the unemployment rate–which is the percentage of people “in the labor force” who are unable to find a job during the month. When someone previously considered “not in the labor force” searches for a job and cannot find one, they are counted as in the labor force during and thus increase the unemployment rate.
The labor force participation rate decreased from 63.5 percent in February to 63.3 percent in March. The labor force participation rate is the percentage of Americans in the civilian population over age sixteen that did not have a job or seek a job during the month.
Oddly, White House chief economist Alan Krueger said that the March jobs report was a sign that the economy continues to recover. “While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression,” Krueger said Friday.
Krueger said that the March report was evidence that country needed to continue the policies of President Obama. “It is critical that we continue the policies that are helping to build an economy that creates jobs and works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”
So apparently, the sign of a solid economic recovery is people deciding to simply drop out of the work force. Unfortunately many who do so ultimately become a part of a bigger problem – former workers now looking to the government provide their basic needs.