The U.S. unemployment dropped to 9.4 percent in December, its lowest level in 19 months.
Some folks may view that as good news. But others see bad news. Where some people see mermaid tresses others see seaweed.
The Department of Labor announced today that the economy added 103,000 new jobs, up from November’s revised estimate of 71,000, but less than analysts had predicted. The drop in the unemployment rate came during retailers’ best holiday season in four years.
There really is no silver lining in the drop of the unemployment rate. In fact, the only thing silver about it is the silver light of lunacy.
Here’s why rage and despair are packing themselves like gunpowder into the heads and hearts of way too many Americans.
Less than half of the drop in unemployment rate can be attributed to new job creation — the other half came from 260,000 Americans who have dropped out of the labor force altogether. This brings the percentage of Americans who are either employed or actively looking for work down to 64.3 percent, an abysmal new low for a recession that supposedly ended months ago.
“The overarching story here is that this represents the continued slog of the recovery,” says economist Heidi Shierholz. “We have now added jobs every single month for a year. So you would think that there would be labor force growth, these missing workers starting to come back in. Not only is that not happening, it’s actually starting to go in the other direction. There’s never been a pool of missing workers this large. It’s not clear to me when they’ll come back.”
More people are shivering today than ever. And it’s not because it’s cold.