Did you hear the news?
Non-farm payrolls increased 288,000 in April and the unemployment rate “plummeted” .4% to 6.3%. See this Yahoo! story.
At the same time the employment participation rate fell .4% to 62.8%.
In case you don’t know, the participation rate “refers to the number of people who are either employed or are actively looking for work. The number of people who are no longer actively searching for work would not be included in the participation rate.” (Source).
Here is what that rate has looked like since 1990:
It’s dropped 2.9 percentage points since President Obama took office. It had dropped 1.5 percentage points during Bush’s presidency.
I understand some of the reason for this drop could be people retiring. Regardless, it makes the unemployment rate statistic almost meaningless.
While writing this post, I happened to see an AFL-CIO blog post about this news. They failed to even mention the labor participation rate. Why does this not surprise me?
Have a good weekend, everybody.