This is the way my newest piece starts:
The official unemployment rate of 7.8% means we are finally back to the level when Barack Obama became president, at the height of the recession. That may seem like great news. However, a more serious analysis of the job market numbers indicates continued gloom.
First of all, full-time employment actually fell last month. Total jobs rose only because part-time employment increased so dramatically.
Even so, the number of jobs, full-time and part-time, is falling short of the ever-increasing working-age population. Last month there was a net gain of 114,000 jobs. But with an expanded working age population of 206,000 and 63% of those working, 131,000 jobs would have had to be added to keep the fraction employed from falling.
Unfortunately, even this anemic growth in the total number of jobs only came about because several hundred thousand full-time workers were forced to accept part-time work. While total jobs rose by 114,000, people who are classified by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as "part time for economic reasons" soared from about 8 million to 8.6 million, a 581,000 increase. . . .
If I had thought about it when I was writing the piece, I would have noted that since the recovery started most of the reduction in unemployment was due to people giving up looking for work. The increase of people not in the labor force grew by 2.66 times the growth of the number of people employed.
Labels: op-ed, unemployment