Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 115,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services, retail trade, and health care, but declined in transportation and warehousing.
Well, that’s… not great, but not too bad…
The civilian labor force participation rate declined in April to 63.6 percent, while the employment-population ratio, at 58.4 percent, changed little.
OK, that’s bad. That number represents half a million people leaving the working force (H/T: @cayankee). And here’s the thing: those half million aren’t going to go live in a box by themselves for the next six months. They’re going to be continuing on with their lives… and reminding other people that no, we’re not actually in a recovering economy. Quite the contrary.
So I invite the administration to tout that 8.1% unemployment; because this isn’t sympathetic magic. Over a third of the civilian workforce isn’t in fact, well, working: and while many of them can’t work, many of them can. If there were jobs, which there are not.