Break out the party hats! Unemployment is all the way down to 8.5 percent! Whoo-hoo!
Zero Hedge spotlights the steady increase in the number of Americans not in the labor force; he points out, “the labor force itself declined by 50K from 153,937 to 153,887. In fact, persons not in the labor force have increased by 7.5 million since January 2007.”
The Bureau of Labor Statistics offers this chart:
The recession may have ended in mid-2009 according to the economists, but the normal rate of growth in the size of the labor force stopped in 2008 and has yet to return.
Labor Force Size January 2009: 154,236,000.
Labor Force Size December 2011: 153,887,000.
We’re still down 349,000 from the size of the labor force when Obama’s term began. The labor force hit its lowest point during that time in January 2011, at 153,250,000.
Now look at the labor-force-size growth over the preceding three years:
January 2006: 150,214,000.
December 2008: 154,626,000.
That’s 4,412,000 more Americans in the labor force.
Heck of a job, Mr. President. If you drive enough Americans out of the labor force, unemployment will get down to the 4 to 6 percent range it was during the Bush years!