workforce participation rate
A good job report this month drops the “official” unemployment rate to 8.3%. That, of course, will be touted as significant progress and, on one level, it is. The number of jobs created is above the maintenance level. That means a real net gain.
While the job creation is “well above expectations”, there’s another record that masks the real unemployment number.
Namely 1.2 million workers (another record) fell out of the labor force. That’s one reason the official rate looks good.
And, probably the most important number to be considered – the labor participation rate – fell to 63.7% which is a 30 year low and reflects the loss of those 1.2 million workers from the work force. Neither of those numbers are good.
That said, the report on the numbers of jobs created is a good report and may signal some growth. It is, for a change, above the maintenance level of jobs. But you have to keep in mind that in overall terms, and despite the official numbers, the job situation still has a very, very long way to go.