Republicans were quick to point out the fine print of the Labor Department’s announcement this morning that the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 6.3 percent in April.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics said “employment gains were widespread, led by job growth in professional and business services, retail trade, food services and drinking places, and construction.”
“In April, the unemployment rate fell from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 9.8 million, decreased by 733,000. Both measures had shown little movement over the prior 4 months. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons declined by 1.2 percentage points and 1.9 million, respectively,” the report continued.
Six paragraphs down: “The civilian labor force dropped by 806,000 in April, following an increase of 503,000 in March.”
The labor force participation rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 62.8 percent in April.
“Today’s jobs report is yet another reminder of this anemic economic recovery and the millions of families who are suffering because of it. While the unemployment rate dropped, it is largely because a staggering 800,000 Americans have left the workforce all-together,” Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), vice-chairman of the House Budget Committee, quickly said in a statement.
“Earlier this week, we learned that last quarter, our economy grew at an abysmal rate of 0.1 percent. It is no wonder that so many Americans are desperate to find work. Indeed, after six years of Democrat control of Washington, it’s apparent that theirs is the party of the 0.1 percent,” Price continued.
“…How many more Americans must drop out of the workforce? How stunted must our growth be? What more evidence do Democrats need to join us in correcting the economic and fiscal course of this nation?”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said “while it’s welcome news that more of our friends and neighbors found work in the past month, this report also indicates more than 800,000 Americans left the workforce last month, which is troubling.”
“We need more robust economic growth if we’re going to help the millions who remain unemployed get back on their feet,” he said. “House Republicans have made the people’s priorities our priorities, passing jobs bill after jobs bill to expand opportunity and economic security for middle-class families. President Obama ought to call on his Democratic-led Senate to take up the stacks of House-passed jobs measures so we can get this economy moving again.”
The White House didn’t mention the 800K figure in its response.
“Employment growth was solid in April, as businesses added jobs for the 50th consecutive month, and the unemployment rate fell. The employment data can fluctuate from month-to-month, and while this month’s report happens to be above expectations, it is still broadly consistent with the recent trends we have been seeing in the labor market,” Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said in a statement. “The President continues to emphasize that more can and should be done to support the recovery, including acting on his own executive authority to expand economic opportunity, as well as pushing Congress for additional investments in infrastructure, education and research, an increase in the minimum wage, and a reinstatement of extended unemployment insurance benefits.”
“In fact, CEA estimates that because of the failure to continue extended benefits into 2014, the economy has already incurred the loss of 80,000 jobs so far this year,” Furman added. “Failure to reinstate extended unemployment insurance benefits is expected to cost another 160,000 jobs over the balance of the year.”