40% of Unemployed-Americans (they’re a big enough group now to get their own hyphen!) have given up looking for work:
The revelation, contained in a new survey Wednesday showing how much work needs to be done yet in the U.S. labor market, comes as the labor force participation rate remains mired near 37-year lows.
A tight jobs market, the skills gap between what employers want and what prospective employees have to offer, and a benefits program that, while curtailed from its recession level, still remains obliging have combined to keep workers on the sidelines, according to a Harris poll of 1,553 working-age Americans conducted for Express Employment Professionals.
On the bright side, the number is actually better than 2014, the survey’s inaugural year, when 47 percent of the jobless said they had given up.
The decline in labor force participation, in fact, has been a key to the drop of the unemployment rate in the post-recession economy. The jobless rate has slid from a high of 10 percent in October 2009 to its current 5.4 percent, the lowest level since May 2008. However, the participation rate has fallen from 66.1 percent to 62.8 percent during the same period.
While the survey lists the number of unemployed Americans at about 8.5 million, that ignores 81 million adult Americans who aren’t institutionalized, but who also aren’t in the labor force — although presumably millions of them would be employable in better economy.
That’s a lot of deadweight for the working adult population to carry.