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Declining workforce participation is Obama’s greatest achievement

Declining workforce participation is Obama’s greatest achievement

“Unemployment Rate” Drops as People Drop Out of Workforce.

How many times have we written about this? Too many to capture them all.

The Obama economy has created a perverse distortion of the “Unemployment Rate” because that widely-reported rate represents the percentage of the total workforce actively seeking employment but not able to find employment.

The more people who give up hope, and stop seeking employment, has the effect of lowering the “unemployment rate.” Here are some of our prior posts:

And again today, with a seemingly strong jobs report, the “unemployment rate” dropped, but the number of those dropping out of the workforce also dropped.

The Federalist, which produced the Featured Image, reports:

The Department of Labor announced today that the official unemployment rate fell to 5.5 percent last month, the lowest it’s been since Spring of 2008. Good news, right? Well, kind of. The official unemployment rate masks a problem that’s been plaguing the economy since shortly before the 2009 recession: a continuing decline in the labor force participation rate, which basically measures the percentage of the able-bodied population that’s either working or looking for work. After holding steady at roughly 66 percent from 2004 through late 2008, the labor force participation has been falling, and falling, and falling some more, with no end in sight….

So what does the unemployment rate picture look like if you take into account all of the labor force droputs since the end of the recession in June of 2009? Not pretty. If you take those labor force dropouts into account, the U.S. does not have an unemployment rate of 5.5 percent. Instead, it has a likely unemployment rate of 9.6 percent, and that’s hardly good news.

Federalist Unemployment-Rate-With-Labor-Force-Dropouts-March-2015

When it comes to “unemployment rate” reporting, some Presidents are good, others are lucky.

Obama is lucky.


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The Obamic Decline has perfected the use of “doped” numbers.

Which work wonderfully on the dopes we produce in the government monopoly “education system”.

2nd Ammendment Mother | March 6, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Interesting that they’re trying to pin the beginning of the decline back into the Bush administration – the participation rate varied between 66.2 and 66.8 from 2000 – January 2009; then it starts a decline that hasn’t stopped.

But, Prof…!!!

Think of all the working people freed from “job lock”!

Barracula…benefactor of the working class…

The underlying chart shows a direct correlation of declining workforce participation with a corresponding decrease in real wages and therefore revenues against Obama’s increasing need to subsidize future ‘Progress’ with an escalating taxation of the wealthy who benefit directly from his government’s fiscal malaise and the Fed’s helium supply to the equity market.

And, of course, the more illegal immigrants there are the greater the supply of applicants, the lower the wages that are paid and then the greater ‘need’ to raise the minimum wage and then more people are laid off to due to higher labor costs and then we are back to a declining workforce participation. Nothing happens in isolation.

Obama letting the Keystone Pipeline go ahead would provide many jobs and offer a safer alternative for the environment as opposed to the recent train car derailment and spillage of crude oil in Illinois. I thought Obama was at least lobbied to care about the environment. We know he doesn’t give a damn about most of the people in America.

inspectorudy | March 6, 2015 at 2:15 pm

obama couldn’t care less about you and me. His Demorat buddies and his tree huggers are all doing very well thank you. I would imagine by the time he leaves office he will be worth over $100,000,000 yet he was worth less than one million when he took office.

Midwest Rhino | March 6, 2015 at 2:39 pm

And all the folks switched to part time, or that have to take lower paying jobs, still count as employed.

I wonder about the illegals that go from lawn and nanny work, to getting (illegal) ID’s, as they file so as to collect tax credits. That will be counted as new workers perhaps, still taking jobs from citizens, but now collecting more entitlements. Or maybe most will prefer the shadows.

The median income and net worth have declined by about 15% over the Obama years, with income and net worth gains concentrated at the top 3%, due to stock market manipulation (ZIRP & QE).

    platypus in reply to Midwest Rhino. | March 7, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    “I wonder about the illegals that go from lawn and nanny work, to getting (illegal) ID’s, as they file so as to collect tax credits. That will be counted as new workers perhaps, still taking jobs from citizens, but now collecting more entitlements. Or maybe most will prefer the shadows.”

    That is the whole key, right there in the last sentence. We all know that “the illegals live in the shadows” is the mantra even if it is false. Who is the real “living in the shadows” group? It is those who have moved “off the grid” or “gone Galt”.

    The dictator class had no real way to track those two groups. How to get them into an identifiable group so they could be targets was the problem (for the commies). The answer is breathtakingly simple and brilliant – group them in with the illegal aliens. The aliens are already criminals but the policy is to not deport routinely. But there still have to be some deportations. So from a certain point in time, those who don’t register (come in from the shadows) get deported. This makes the unregistered into class criminals based not on illegally being in the US but based on failure to register. Who else will not be registered (on the grid – credit cards, debit cards, tax returns, etc.)?

    The drop outs. The Ayn Rand Going Galt group. The working under the table group. The whole point is to force conservatives/libertarians who are fed up with big govt to be on a list/database even without their voluntary participation. Then they are subject to sweeps for unregistered aliens and once picked up, they can easily be prosecuted for non-filing of 1040s.

    I predict a new cottage industry of false IDs for those right-wingers who can’t cop to being who they are lest they incriminate themselves.

RandomCrank | March 6, 2015 at 4:44 pm

I come to this with two attributes that many people lack. First, I have deep familiarity with BLS data as a consequence of a couple of jobs that required me to use it. Second, when it comes to numbers, I am objective and will let the chips fall where they may. In the words of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, we are entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts.

With that, some comments.

1. It’s probably not appropriate to use 2009 labor force participation rates for a current baseline, because the aging (and retirements) of the baby boom have steadily been reducing participation. The 2009 number should be adjusted for any purposes of comparison with today’s labor market. I suspect that that if I or someone else looked hard enough, they’d find that the BLS has quantified it. Those people live to do that sort of analysis.

2. I agree that the 5.5% number overstates any improvements since the depression bottomed out in 2009-10. Recessions do deep damage, and participation rates wind up being reduced for long periods of time. The same thing was true in 1984, when President Reagan’s campaign was running the “Morning in America” ads.

3. There is a long-term trend toward more long-term unemployment from economic downturs, Not only do companies use these events to dismiss long-time, higher-paid employees who then have a hard time finding new jobs, but as the economy grows more specialized, it becomes harder for even younger and cheaper workers to re-enter the labor force quickly. In any case, complete recoveries to anything resembling “full employment” take a long time. The last such complete recovery, or the closest thing to full recovery in the last 40 or 50 years, occurred under President Clinton in the late 1990s.

4. Political oppositions routinely use the BLS’s so-called “alternative” measures of unemployment and underemployment to inpugn an incumbent’s claims of economic health. The Democrats did it in the ’80s and the ’00s, and the Republicans are doing it now. The arguments are the same, and so are the merits, with the exception noted in my first point above.

All of the above factors exist irrespective of the partisan balance. Which is why I pretty much expect this posting to be hooted at, and maybe even called a “troll” post, given Legal Insurrection’s partisan slant. So be it, but if anyone were to meet me in person, you’d realize pretty fast that I know what I’m talking about with respect to BLS numbers, and that no one is shading anything.

    Murphy in reply to RandomCrank. | March 6, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    You’re an anonymous internet commenter going by the name “RandomCrank.” Your appeal to your own authority is invalid.

    Ragspierre in reply to RandomCrank. | March 6, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    You’ve been outed as a troll, troll.

    But put up your links. I’ll check out anything.

    Although most of what you wrote is patent BS, starting with # 1. The Obamic Decline has forced huge numbers of Boomers to forestall or abandon retirement.

    Midwest Rhino in reply to RandomCrank. | March 6, 2015 at 5:42 pm

    yeah, that’s a lot of preface to tell us you are really smart. Then you conclude telling us again you are really smart. Then you throw in that if we disagree, it is because we are partisan, and racist and bigoted too I suppose. If you had any solid argument hidden in the rest, you discounted it with all that “I’m really smart” talk.

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that, for instance, the labor participation rates of those aged 25 to 54 years decreased from 76.4% in 2002 to 70.9% in 2012 – while the rates of those aged 55 and over actually increased over the same time frame, from 61.9% to 64.5%

    or Forbes

    By far the biggest contributors to the drop in participation were:

    that the population of those aged 25-54 increased by 1.12 million, and yet its labor force actually shrank by 1.53 million—a net loss of 2.65 million; and
    2.53 million people aged 16-24 failed to enter the labor force compared to the rate in 2003..

    In fact, if older Americans were not working longer — in the process adding 2.79 million to the civilian labor force — participation would be even lower than it already is at about 61.7 percent, instead of the 62.8 percent rate reported.

      Awing1 in reply to Midwest Rhino. | March 7, 2015 at 9:52 am

      The authors here are just flat out wrong. None of them are taking into account how the weighting has changed of those population groups. The elderly population accounts for more than 75% of the growth in non-participation. From 2009 to 2014, the non-participant pool age 16+ has grown 9.2 million, of that, 7.2 million of that growth has been in the 55+ category. The 55+ participation rate may be increasing, but they’re still the lowest by far, and their astronomical growth in size FAR outpaces any growth in participation rate.

        platypus in reply to Awing1. | March 7, 2015 at 12:35 pm

        Aren’t you making the unwarrented ‘if this then that’ connection between age and non-working? Just because someone is ‘elderly’ doesn’t mean that person isn’t working and would be working regardless of govt economic situation.

        Also, many more ‘senior citizens’ (%) own their own businesses, which aren’t accounted for by either the govt or pontificators. I’ve been essentially unemployable my entire adult life (bad attitude) but I’ve worked all that time due to starting my own business. If you’re self-employed, you can’t b!tch at the boss and you can’t be fired.

RandomCrank | March 6, 2015 at 6:13 pm

Well, I now know which website to write off. I give everyone a chance or three, right or left. Your knees are jerking. To the right, of course, the opposite of Daily Kos. Oh well.

    Ragspierre in reply to RandomCrank. | March 6, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    No, no, you lying little POS. You pulled this the other day.

    You were asked to SUPPORT what you said. Nobody here “JERKED” but you.

    You are the Kos-sack (o’shit), lying, troll.

    Be gone. And don’t come back.

    Barry in reply to RandomCrank. | March 6, 2015 at 11:03 pm

    Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. It clearly hit you in the head on the way in.

    I love it when some left wing liar shows up to spout their bullshit and then gets their ass handed to them.

    Everything you said was wrong, provably wrong. By actual “fact”. By the way “facts” are not something you just pull out of your ass…

freedomsbell | March 7, 2015 at 2:51 am

If Obama’s nose grew like Pinocchio’s he could smell the moon.