The recent release of the May jobs report has left me scratching my head. Let’s see if I have it straight. Only 38,000 jobs were added to the workforce, the smallest gain in nearly six years. Meanwhile the unemployment rate dropped to 4.7 percent, lowest rate in over nine years. Does that translate to good news or bad for Americans?
The root of these mixed signals is the shrinking workforce. The labor force participation rate decreased to 62.6 percent in May; down .2 percent from April. That’s a record 94,708,000 workers not in the labor force; 664,000 more than April. This is attributed to discouragement, retirement, education, or otherwise.
When President Obama took office in January 2009 there were 80,529,000 Americans not participating in the labor force. Since then 14,179,000 additional Americans have left the workforce.
Where are they at; what are they doing; how are they surviving?
During a recent speech in Elkhart, Indiana, President Obama boasted, “By almost every economic measure, America is better off than when I came here at the beginning of my presidency.”
I’m afraid not seeing it. Where do I go to get a pair of those rose-colored glasses?
Bill Malec, O’Fallon