Why the Unemployment Rate Falling Is Not Good News

“Convincing millions of Americans they don’t want a job or compelling desperate workers to settle for part time work has been the Obama Administration’s most effective jobs program.”  – Peter Morici

Adding to the deficit to pay for it is yet another issue.

The economy added 146,000 jobs in November, up a bit from 138, 000 in October. The Dept. of Labor reported that Unemployment fell to 7.7 percent, largely because 542,000 additional adults chose not to look for work.

In the weakest recovery since the Great Depression, most of the reduction in unemployment from its 10.0 percent peak in October 2009 has been accomplished through a significant drop in the percentage of adults working or looking for work.

Were adult labor-force participation the same today, the unemployment rate would be 9.7 percent.

Hooray! Not really.

Hooray! Not really This is only a small part of the real unemployment picture.

Adding more than 8 million part time workers who can’t find full time work, and discouraged workers no longer looking for work, the unemployment rate becomes 14.4 percent. It rose above 14 percent in the wake of the financial crisis and remains stuck there.

Underemployment is even more onerous.

Underemployment is even more onerous.

Gallup tracks underemployment monthly as well, and the official Labor Dept. figures  seem to be about three percentage points below those of Gallup.

Hmmmm?

Graphs courtesy of Policymic

Peter Morici is an economist and professor at the Smith School of Business, University of Maryland School, and a widely published columnist.

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One Response to Why the Unemployment Rate Falling Is Not Good News

  1. […] have been talking about this issue for some time- here, here, here, here are some of our most recent […]

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