Yet again, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has produced an Employment Situation Report that has something for everyone. If the only thing you’re interested in is the headline unemployment rate figure, there’s good news for you: in August the unemployment rate declined from 8.3% to 8.1%. If you’re a Republican looking for ammo to use against the president, you’ve got that, too: only 98,000 jobs were created last month, an extremely phlegmatic result.
Unfortunately, there’s not much of a silver lining if you’re looking for a job. The reason that the unemployment rate declined is that so many people stopped looking entirely and left the labor force, whether to take a forced early retirement, go on disability, or go back to school to prepare for some nonexistent job other than the nonexistent job you used to have.
The labor force participation rate is the lowest it’s been in more than 30 years, since 1981.
ZeroHedge notes an all-time record in the spread between the reported unemployment rate and the implied unemployment rate (the rate without the precipitous drop in the labor force participation rate).