On Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor reported more disappointing news. The economy created only 96,000 jobs in August, the unemployment rate remains above 8 percent, and more than 350,000 Americans have dropped out of the work force. While some may focus on the jobs that were created last month, this jobs report is nothing but horrendous. I welcome any jobs, but American workers giving up on employment in the weakest recovery since the Great Depression is cause for alarm, not celebration.
The unemployment rate has not fallen below 8 percent for the past 43 months. The labor force participation rate is at the lowest level in 31 years. If the labor force participation rate were at the same level it was before the recession started, the unemployment rate would be 11.6 percent today. And the rate of “underemployment” or “real unemployment,” including the unemployed, those who want work but have stopped searching in this economy, and those who are forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment is actually at 14.7 percent. We’re still experiencing a significant jobs crisis, whether President Obama recognizes it or not.