With a 0.3% monthly drop in the unemployment rate, at this rate, we should have a 0% unemployment rate by this time in 2015.
The labor department reported 74,000 net new jobs were created last month, and 32,000 of those were in retail trade --- and we're not yet sure how many of those were temporary jobs for the Holiday sales, although analysts had expected 200,000 new jobs created last month.
But the stock market is doing just fine.
Other highlights from the jobs report include:
- The unemployment rate declined from 7.0 percent to 6.7 percent.
- The number of unemployed persons declined by 490,000 to 10.4 million.
- The number of part-time worker (for economic reasons) was unchanged at 7.8 million.
- The employment-population ratio was unchanged at 58.6 percent.
- The labor force participation rate fell to 62.8 percent.
Some "expert" on MSNBC falsely claimed that the labor force participation rate went down 3 percentage points over the last 5 years --- and that 2 percent of that was due to retiring baby boomers in their late 50's and 60s, and that only one percent was due to "discouraged workers" dropping out of the labor force.
From a study by Shigeru Fujita at the Philly Fed (dated November 19, 2013):
"As of the first half of 2013, roughly 5 percent to 6 percent of individuals in the working-age population are out of the labor force because of disability, 16 percent to 17 percent are out of the labor force because of retirement, and the rest have left the labor force for other reasons....There is no question that more workers dropped out of the labor force due to discouragement during and after the Great Recession and that there are more discouraged workers now than before the recession. These facts clearly reflect the continued weakness of the U.S. labor market."
The study noted that the nonparticipation in the labor force (due to disability) raised the overall nonparticipation rate by 1.4 percent (between the beginning of 2000 and the end of 2011); but he also adds, "In the last two years or so, however, it has been flat, thus making no contribution to the overall decline in the participation rate." In other words, not since the first Baby Boomer retired at age 65 in 2011. The first Boomer turned 62 in 2008 and took an early Social Security.
However, the study also noted that, "Nonparticipation due to retirement did not rise until the end of the Great Recession, but started to increase significantly in 2010. Since the start of 2012, it has been the only component that has contributed to the increase in the nonparticipation rate." --- which almost seems contradictory what he said earlier.
There have been millions of Americans who "dropped out of the labor force" since the recession because they never found work again after being laid off; but there have been many more "non-starters" graduating from high school --- far less than those who retired or went on disability (check the numbers here).
Continuing unemployment claims have not been updated as of this post, and still shows 1.3 million receiving federal benefits, even though the program ended last year.