Saturday, December 03, 2011

Friday and more unemployment numbers

We like it when unemployment drops to 8.6%! 

At the same time, what does it really mean?

Did the rate drop because employers created more jobs?  Or did people stop looking?

According to news reports, it looks like a drop was a bit of both:

"The Labor Department said Friday that employers added 120,000 jobs last month. With that, the unemployment rate dropped to the lowest level in more than two and a half years.

But a key reason for the sharp drop was that about 315,000 people had stopped looking for work -- for the Labor Department's purposes, they were not counted as unemployed." (Fox)

So is this a report that we should cheer or cry about?  James Pethokoukis is not very impressed:

"If labor force size was same as Oct., U-3 unemployment rate would be 8.9%; same as when Obama took office, 11%...."

We should always cheer when jobs are created and the unemployment rate drops.  At the same, we are still living in an economy that is reluctant to grow, or at least grow sufficiently to employ all of those people who are looking for work.


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