The headline unemployment number that will dominate the news today looks good for President Obama: Unemployment has dropped to 7.7%. But just 146,000 jobs were created, which is barely enough to keep up with population growth.
Underneath that number, the picture still looks grim. The total labor force participation rate dropped to a 30-year low. About 540,000 Americans decided to stop seeking work. Their leaving the labor force helped contribute to the overall “drop” in unemployment. Additionally, the numbers from September and October were revised downward.
The Labor Department’s initial report for October showed a gain of 171,000 jobs, but now is listed at 138,000. The September gain of 148,000 was taken down to 132,000.
Contrary to the musings of Barack Obama, this economy is not “poised to take off.”
Update: In a conversation with Daniel Sosa, one of our freelance writers, we determined that about 2.38 million Americans have left the US labor force from November 2011 to November 2012.
Update: 73% of all jobs created in the past five months: government jobs.