The government recently announced that the economy added just 156,000 jobs in December (down from 204,000 a month prior) and unemployment ticked up to 4.7%. The weakening numbers fell short of expectations, and yet they still don’t reflect the full employment picture.
The reality is, labor participation—at a historically low rate of 62.7%—remains the gaping hole in the bottom of the jobs data bucket, and the longer we ignore the problem, the worse it is getting.
The decline in labor participation throughout President Obama’s tenure in office is so staggering that it’s difficult to understand how it has escaped the notice of the press. The average person in middle America certainly knows and has felt the impact. Let’s review the facts and then analyze the situation.