Human Events Blog

U.S. workforce collapses to 30-year low

The undisexpectappointing job numbers for April from the Bureau of Labor Statistics were released today, and it’s a horror story:

Only 115,000 new jobs were created, which is actually below the dismal 119,000 number predicted by the ADP payroll company earlier this week, and well beneath the 170,000 jobs expected by the “experts.”  This is a significant slowdown from February and March, which averaged an anemic 134,500 jobs, and a free-fall crash from the fourth quarter of 2011, which averaged 252,000 per month.

The official unemployment rate nevertheless dipped to 8.1 percent, a decrease of 0.1 percent.  This was entirely due to people leaving the workforce entirely, which means the BLS no longer counts them in the widely-reported U-3 rate.  The size of the American workforce just hit a thirty-year low.  We lost over half a million people from the workforce in a single month.

The same “experts” who anticipated 170,000 new jobs for April also thought the unemployment rate would remain at 8.2 percent.  In other words, they had absolutely no idea this horrifying workforce collapse was coming.  They thought people would be re-entering the workforce and looking for jobs, which would balance out the mediocre job creation and produce zero net change in the unemployment rate.  They thought we were in a weak recovery.

If all of the people driven completely out of the workforce over the past three years were added back in, the unemployment rate would be 14.5 percent.  That’s the true rate, the number the media should be reporting.  That’s what you’re voting for, if you give Obama a second term.

This brings us to 39 straight months of “official” unemployment above 8 percent.  When Barack Obama seized a trillion dollars of your children’s money for his “stimulus,” he said the unemployment rate would reach 7 percent without it. 

The magnitude of Obama’s failure is staggering.  We’re teetering on the edge of a double-dip recession, if not an outright depression, and we’ve got nothing to show for the Obama years except for a gigantic pile of fresh debt, which we must pay enormous amounts of interest on.

And the worst is yet to come.  Consumer confidence is flagging, and even lower GDP growth is anticipated in the next quarter.  It is widely thought that a warm winter “stole” a good deal of construction work from the spring.  Fair enough… but now it’s summer.  What next?

This is usually one of those moments when I’d highlight media attempts to paint a happy face on the April job numbers – “Look!  Unemployment dropped by 0.1 percent!  We’re on the right track!”  There have been a few attempts to look for silver linings in today’s news, but even Obama’s media cheerleaders are dropping their tattered pom-poms and admitting this report is awful.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is not merely disingenuous, but delusional.

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