Another dismal month of job creation: More unemployed give up looking for work (Updated)
I don't know why we even bother mentioning the "official" unemployment rate. It is so decieving of the true employmnet situation that it's not worth paying attention to.
For the record, the Labor Department says the unemployment rate fell to 8.1% - down from 8.2% last month. But looking inside the numbers gives a dreary picture of what it's like to be unemployed in Obama's economy.
The U.S. economy generated fewer jobs than expected in April, but the unemployment rate dipped slightly and data from prior months was revised upward, painting a murky picture of labor market conditions.
It was the second straight month that hiring slowed in the U.S. and it raises concerns, six months before Americans go to the polls to choose either President Barack Obama or his Republican challenger Mitt Romney as president, that the nation's job-creating machine is sputtering.
The Labor Department said Friday that non-farm payrolls rose by 115,000 last month, much lower than the consensus estimate of about 165,000. The jobless rate slid a notch to 8.1 percent from 8.2 percent, as more people left the work force.
Still, the government revised upward its initial estimates for payroll growth in February and March by a combined 53,000. That left the six-month average of job growth at 197,000, nearly exactly where it would have been had April job growth come in as expected at 170,000.
"We're still growing just gradually," said Nigel Gault, an economist at IHS Global Insight in Lexington, Massachusetts.
"Hiring is coming back into line with what you would expect with sluggish growth."
That last quote is telling. It suggests that previously, hiring wasn't even reflecting sluggish growth. Now at least, with economic growth around 2%, we have a jobs market that reflects that anemic situation.
Perhaps by election day, so many Americans will have become discouraged about looking for work that the unemployment rate will be at 5%. Obama can only hope.
Zero Hedge blog reports that the number of people not in the labor force rose by a frightening 522,000 in April. Labor force participation hit a 30-year low of 64.3%.