Number of Discouraged American Workers Hit Record High: QE3 = A Matter of When
By: Dian L Chu
Jan 09, 2011
The latest U.S. Labor Department data indicated that non-farm payroll added 103,000 jobs in December, which is far short of expectation, but the unemployment rate somehow managed to fall sharply to 9.4% (from 9.8% in November) far exceeding expectation.
103k Jobs Not Enough To Drop Unemployment Rate
The current consensus is that the U.S. economy would need to create 150,000 to 175,000 new jobs each month in the next 5 years or so, at minimum, just to restore the 8+ million jobs wiped out by the Great Recession.
Since the nation added only 1.1 million jobs in total last year, or averaging 94,000 jobs a month, the 103,000 new jobs added, coupled with a 0.4% drop in unemployment rate in December, simply does not make much sense.
Nevertheless, a closer look at data the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tells that the drop in unemployment had very little to do with newly created jobs. Instead, it was primarily due to 260,000 workers dropping out of the labor force. As a result, the labor force has shrunk by 246,000 from the pre-crisis 2007 level (The U.S. labor force average growth rate is supposed to be around 0.8% per year from 2000 to 2050, according to Joel Kotkin, a scholar on urban development.)