Good news, bad news

They’ll likely be doing hive-fives in the White House: last month’s official unemployment rate dropped from 9.0% to 8.6%. That’s good, isn’t it? Yes, but, like much else in life, the news of the latest unemployment rate is too good to be taken as good news. Not by itself, that is.

There is also bad news. Accompanying the new unemployment rate is the nagging little fact that 315,000 people dropped out of the labor force. Meaning, they are not working and not looking for work. This is about half of the drop in people who were counted in the unemployment rate but have left the playing field.

Worse, the “participation rate” dropped, meaning that there is an ever-shrinking portion of our population that is working or seeking to work.

As CNBC commentator Jim Pethokoukis tweets, “If labor force size was same as Oct., U-3 unemployment rate would be 8.9%…”

The gory details may be found at the Bureau of Labor Statistics official release this morning. Bottom line? There’s good news; there’s bad news. It adds up to a sluggish recovery from the recession, a recovery much hindered by economic uncertainty.

Not to mention an administration that is mired in class warfare (how many times can Obama use “millionaires and billionaires” as a talking point?), over regulation, and outright hostility to business and proven energy sources(e.g. the National Labor Relations Board trying to bully Boeing into not building a new plant in South Carolina; opposition to the Keystone pipeline).

I’d say that unemployment dropped despite the best efforts of Obama and his crew.


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