Official Unemployment Went Down, Actual Unemployment Still High

Obama’s Bureau of Labor Statistics says unemployment went down to 8.3%, causing Kevin Hassett over at NRO to call the latest numbers a “home run.” That’s an interesting interpretation of what’s going on. Two charts help explain the new numbers.


The first, I’m ripping off from Vodkapundit:

















What you see there is the trend of older Americans staying in the work force because, thanks to a combination of declining home values and other factors they have to, while younger workers are giving up on getting a job at all.

The second chart comes from Obama’s own Bureau of Labor Statistics.










The above chart shows total participation in the US labor force. It has been trending down for years, but has now hit just 63.7%. That’s down a full half a point since this time a year ago. And, that chart answers how unemployment can keep going down despite an overall negative economic environment: 1.2 million Americans threw up their hands and left the workforce last month. That’s another record-breaker for the Obama administration.

I’m not an economist, but I have very hard time seeing this economic performance as analogous to slamming a little white ball over a wall. Yes, the economy created more jobs last month. But we’re losing a substantial slice of the next generation of workers at the same time.


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