Initial jobless claims unexpectedly jumped by 24,000 last week to 399,000 as more workers lost their jobs, the Labor Department said Thursday. At the same time, the economy continues to lose workers.
In the 30 months since the recession officially ended, nearly 1 million people have dropped out of the labor force — they aren't working, and they aren't looking — according to data from Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. In the past two months, the labor force shrank by 170,000.
This is virtually unprecedented in past economic recoveries, at least since the BLS has kept detailed records. In the past nine recoveries, the labor force had climbed an average 3.5 million by this point, according to an IBD analysis of the BLS data.
...According to the BLS, the "labor force participation rate" — the ratio of the number of people either working or looking for work compared with the entire working-age population — is now 64%, down from 65.7% when the recession ended in June 2009. That's the lowest level since women began entering the workforce in far greater numbers several decades ago.
If you adjust for this drop, the unemployment rate would be close to 11%, instead of the official 8.5%.
At this rate, the completely politicized Bureau of Labor Statistics should just remove a few more million workers from the labor force, so they can get the unemployment rate down to, say, 4.8%. Like it was during those nightmarish Bush years.
Related: Obama Labor Politburo Now Publishing Patently Bogus Unemployment Propaganda.