90,609,000 Problems (But A Job Ain’t One)
That’s a big number isn’t it? And while it doesn’t get the same play in the mainstream media as America’s increasingly meaningless “official” government unemployment rate … you’d better believe this number matters.
90,609,000 is the number of Americans over the age of sixteen who were not in the workforce last month – a new record. It’s up from 90,473,000 in August – which was also a new record.
Our guess is next month will yield a bigger number … and another record.
It wasn’t always like this: When U.S. President Barack Obama took office in January of 2009, the number of Americans outside of the labor force was 80,507,000 – meaning the U.S. workforce has shrunk by 10 million workers over his five years in office.
Unlike most mainstream media outlets this website writes extensively about America’s labor participation rate – which tracks the percentage of the nation’s working age population that is either employed or actively searching for a job. It’s a key, overlooked data point – one which puts recent declines in the “official” unemployment rate in perspective.
This rate stood at 65.7 percent when Obama took office – but has since plummeted to a 35-year low of 63.2 percent. In fact if you apply January 2009′s labor participation rate to today – you wind up with an unemployment rate of nearly 11.5 percent.
Jobs have been created during Obama’s reign. 144,303,000 Americans were employed last month – which is roughly 2.1 million more than when Obama took office. But that employment growth is nowhere near sufficient to keep pace with America’s growing population.