The unemployment rate has dropped to 8.3%, and there is a gain of 243,000 jobs according to data released today. Pretty good news, huh?

Submitted for your additional consideration: On January 31, the Congressional Budget Office suggested that the true unemployment rate, taking into account declines in the labor market primarily due to workers giving up looking for work, is about 1.25% higher than the reported rate, or about 9.5% or higher.

The labor force participation rate, the percentage of people who could be working who are either employed or looking for work, continues to drop to record low levels.

And in the last month, a record 1,200,000 people dropped out of the labor force.

The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed divided by the number in the labor force. If the numerator goes down by 243,000 and the denominator goes down by 1,200,000, the answer will obviously get a lot smaller. But in simple terms that means the economy actually lost – we lost almost a million more workers than we gained in employed people.

Remember what Mark Twain said about statistics.

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