Friday’s "Employment Situation" report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that 5.4 million Americans have dropped out of the labor force since Barack Obama took office. The labor force declined by 350,000 in November, despite an increase of 191,000 in our working age population.
The unprecedented decline of labor force participation under President Obama is not news. However, it also appears that millions of brain cells have dropped out of the mental labor force of America’s economic analysts. How else can we account for headlines like these?
"Jobs report: A pleasant surprise" (Jared Bernstein)
"The employment emergency is over" (Felix Salmon)
"Fiscal cliff? What fiscal cliff? No evidence in jobs numbers" (Stephen Gandel)
In case anyone didn’t notice, the BLS jobs report was terrible. Unemployment didn’t go down in November (from 7.9% to 7.7%) as the BLS reported, it actually went up. The true unemployment rate, calculated at the labor force participation rate that existed when Bush 43 left office (65.8%), increased from 10.7% to 10.8%. This put the true unemployment rate 1.3 percentage points higher than when Obama’s so-called "economic recovery" began, almost 3.5 years ago.