This is a graphic from Hillbuzz. The theme has been repeated elsewhere. The argument is that although the unemployment numbers as released remain essentially steady, they are a measure of a smaller and smaller overall workforce. Unemployment rates are a percentage of those in the current workforce and not the total number of people who are able to work. It may be a crude analogy but if you start with 1000 workers 10 percent unemployment 1000 is 100. 10 percent of 900 is 90. If you look at it that way, the number of unemployed fell by 10. However if those people have left the total labor force they show up elsewhere as not working – in the labor participation rate. Something like 64 percent of the population was in the work force not too long ago and it has fallen to about 59 percent.
I don’t see much improvement either in the crude numbers or the internals.