Originally published at AlterPolitics
The Labor Department released its employment numbers today, and in keeping with the recent trend, the results appear positive, down slightly from the previous month’s results.
With a net gain of 115,000 jobs, the unemployment rate dropped from 8.2% to 8.1%.
But behind those numbers lurks a far gloomier picture. That 115,000 net gain is due, in part, to the government no longer counting as “unemployed” 103,000 people who became reclassified as “discouraged,” and yet remain unable to find work. Because in America, if there are no employment opportunities, and your plight goes on for too long, the government is permitted to ignore you completely (so that they can clean up their economic numbers for political purposes).
This helps to give Americans the impression that the economy is slowly, but surely, chugging along.
As reported in the New York Times:
The unemployment rate ticked down to 8.1 percent in April, from 8.2 percent, but that was not because more unemployed workers found jobs; it was because workers dropped out of the labor force.
The share of working-age Americans who are in the labor force, meaning they are either working or actively looking for a job, is now at its lowest level since 1981 — when far fewer women were doing paid work. The share of men taking part in the labor force fell to 70 percent, the lowest number since the Labor Department began collecting these data in 1948.
And yet, despite these five long years of economic misery, austerity measures continue unabated, as 15,000 government employees were laid off in April.