Unemployment Rate Drops Slightly As More Than Half A Million Americans Give Up Looking For Work


“The more you drill down into the November jobs report, the worse it looks,” writes Jim Pethokoukis. How could it look bad when the unemployment rate is shrinking? Because that rate isn’t shrinking because more Americans are finding jobs. That rate is shrinking, for the most part, because so many Americans are giving up on finding a job.

Yes the nation added 146,000 jobs, but that’s just enough to tread water when you factor in population growth and not the reason the unemployment rate went down. The rate went down because the total pool of American workers shrunk. Again.

The two-tenths drop in the unemployment rate was because people gave up looking for work. The labor force participation rate fell to 63.6% from 63.8% in October. If it had just held steady since then, the unemployment rate would be back over 8%. …

If labor force participation was at its January 2009 level, the unemployment rate would be a whopping 10.7%.

Here’s a chart showing the labor force participation rate (the percentage of Americans participating in the work force):

Meanwhile, average hourly earnings continue to plunge:

Meanwhile, it appears as though 73% of the job creation in the past five months has occurred in the public sector. The unemployment rate among government workers is down to 3.8%.

But the unemployment rate went down slightly so, you know, yippee.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Dave

    Quitters. ); They should come to North Dakota. But seriously, very interesting analysis, Rob!

  • SigFan

    You have to wonder how many of the 500K that “dropped out” were people just waiting for their government cheese to run out. The problem for them is that they have now removed themselves from a lot of companies consideration for good paying jobs (those few that are hiring) since companies like to see a history of continuous work/employment.

  • JW-American

    10,000 – Baby Boomers Retire

    “As the year 2011 began on Jan. 1, the oldest members of the Baby Boom generation celebrated their 65th birthday. In fact, on that day, today, and for every day for the next 19 years, 10,000 baby boomers will reach age 65. The aging of this huge cohort of Americans (26% of the total U.S. population are Baby Boomers) will dramatically change the composition of the country. Currently, just 13% of Americans are ages 65 and older. By 2030, when all members of the Baby Boom generation have reached that age, fully 18% of the nation will be at least that age, according to Pew Research Center population projections.”

    source: http://pewresearch.org/databank/dailynumber/?NumberID=1150

    So 30 days times 10,000 = 300,000 retirees leaving the workforce, kinda speaks for itself when you look at the phony assed numbers form the Labor Dept. welcome to what Harry S. Dent predicted back in 2000 the big Depression of 2010

    Here’s a tip: start selling off all Grandmas antiques soon too! The prices on heirlooms as they start to be dumped in mass, on the auction markets will plummet.

    Its all in Demographics and Obummer’s people are the worlds greatest when it comes to exploiting that.

    • HG

      The number of American youths entering the market must be factored in. You failed miserably to provide a realistic assessment of the labor force.

      • JW-USA

        First off, the sheer number of yoots of working age is far below the number of boomers retiring other wise the Boomers wouldnt be called BOOMERS.

        2nd, of that smaller number… most are not entering the work force as they are staying in college on Mommies health Ins. as they sit on their asses and whine that we don’t spend enough on their edjukashun. by either lowering their tuition or forgiving their student loan debt.

        Look around, look at all the help wanted signs but unless these yoots can start as a VP, and pull in 60K plus per year they pass up on the other opportunities

        Then there is the breeder class, that make more money by making babies than actually going to work.

        What they all have in common, the voted for Obummer and will be rewarded for those votes with my money.

        If they don’t enter the job market for what ever the reason they don’t get factored into the Jobless %

        Real UI is closer to 11% nationally.

  • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

    The labor force is shrinking because Americans are retiring. This post is yet another lie from Rob Port.

    • HG

      Yes, folks. H is as stupid as he sounds.

      • Hannitized, Proofs obsession

        HG, do you deny that Americans are retiring?

        • HG

          No . Older Americans are retiring and younger Americans are entering the work force. The difference isn’t enough to account for the shrinking work force.

        • $16179444

          people retire all the time wingnut – but that is NOT the reason for the RECORD unemployment

    • rolf

      Actually, no. The fact is that older Americans are re-entering the workforce in record numbers. The vast majority of “new jobs” in the last several years have been taken by Americans 55+. Probably tough to stay retired when your CD’s and bonds don’t pay any interest. Older Americans have seen a net gain in jobs while college age and middle age Americans have lost jobs.

      For anyone interested here is some painful information:


    • Greg

      Your comment is just another lie from a liar, and tax cheat. Over the last month there was an average of 407,000 people who lost their jobs, every week. Did they all just decide to retire?

      • ellinas1

        Yes they did.

        • Charles

          And you’re as much of an ignorant as*wipe as willie bonilla AKA hannitized is.

    • $16179444

      LOL! you are simply the most ignorant person ever to be on a msg board.

  • HG

    And then there is this….

    73% of new jobs are in gov’t. Gov’t workers unemployment rate is 3.8%.


  • WOOF

    Every couple of days for four years numbers have been presented
    that prove beyond the shadow of a doubt and with geometric logic
    that Barack Hussein Obama is destroying the nation.

    Things are so bad Jimmy DeMint was forced out of a cushy Senate job
    into working for a “think” tank @ $1 million a year, car and chauffeur.
    Jimmy was doubtlessly worried that his Senate pension wouldn’t cover
    his retirement.

    Now Jimmy will be in charge of producing and interpreting beyond the shadow
    of a doubt and with geometric logic that same old numbers song, but with
    new improved new numbers.

    • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob
      • ellinas1

        Really nice work if you can get it.
        Do you think he had the best interests of his constituents when he accepted this offer?

        • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

          Jimmy D turned his back on his constituents by quitting on them mid term. What will it cost his constituents to have a special election?

          He’s a smart cookie, he grabbed the cash and ran.

          • ellinas1

            I concur. He is like Sarah the Barracuda.

          • http://realitybasedbob.sayanythingblog.com/ realitybasedbob

            How soon will Jimmy be a regular on Pox?