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CNN Wakes Up: The 86 Million Invisible Unemployed

As Glenn Reynolds has said….and I reiterate on Twitter…. UNEXPECTEDLY!!!!!!

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — There are far more jobless people in the United States than you might think.

While it’s true that the unemployment rate is falling, that doesn’t include the millions of nonworking adults who aren’t even looking for a job anymore. And hiring isn’t strong enough to keep up with population growth.

As a result, the labor force is now at its smallest size since the 1980s when compared to the broader working age population.

“We’ve been getting some job growth and it’s been significant, but it hasn’t yet been strong enough that you start to get people re-engaging in the labor market,” said Keith Hall, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center and former commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A person is counted as part of the labor force if they have a job or have looked for one in the last four weeks. Only about 64% of Americans over the age of 16 currently fall into that category, according to the Labor Department. That’s the lowest labor force participation rate since 1984.

It’s a worrisome sign for the economy and partly explains why the unemployment rate has been falling recently. Only people looking for work are considered officially unemployed.

Yesterday I noted, also on Twitter (so you may want to follow me!), that I’ve come to conclude Obama & his economic team must have studied “Applied Theories in Martian Economics” rather than understand what truly drives human economic activity.  It isn’t rocket science, but The Most Brilliant President Evah somehow has missed the boat.  Class warfare does not employment make.

Kudos to CNN Money for addressing the Elephant In The Room that most of the rest of the MSM has ignored to this point.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)



  1. CNN has been leaning on this for a while. I watch them a few times a week during my lunch break, and at the very least, Jack Cafferty gripes about this at least once a week. So it’s always been there, maybe just not as prominent as we would like.

    Comment by Sonicfrog — May 3, 2012 @ 5:01 pm - May 3, 2012

  2. I think that this has less to do with Obama’s understanding and more to do with his priorities: He cares far, far more about “redistributing” wealth than about the overall health of the economy. He prefers that we all be equally destitute than for some of us to be wealthier than others. (Note that this does not mean that he is willing to himself be destitute: The rulers of a socialist state never lack for luxuries.)

    Comment by pst314 — May 3, 2012 @ 5:40 pm - May 3, 2012

  3. A lib on Hannity was saying, “So what if people are unemployed, under Obama they get unemployment and food stamps.”

    Comment by V the K — May 3, 2012 @ 6:13 pm - May 3, 2012

  4. The 86 million invisible unemployed? You might want to refine that figure. After all, not all of the population over the age of 16 WANTS to work. You’ve got:

    –High school students
    –College students
    –Senior citizens
    –Parents and spouses who stay home by choice.

    It is true that the labor force participation is at a very low 63.8%, and you’re right that this should be factored in to our analysis. But over the past decade, the rate hasn’t gone over 66.7%.(

    That means the “invisible unemployed” (compared to prior years) are about 3% of the population aged 16 and over, and that sure isn’t 86 million people!

    Comment by pk — May 3, 2012 @ 6:45 pm - May 3, 2012

  5. “Applied Theories in Martian Economics”

    I think you meant, Mar*xist.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — May 3, 2012 @ 7:38 pm - May 3, 2012

  6. #4: good point. So many statistics are quoted without context, my head spins.

    Part of the problem with this economy is the constant “talking down” that has everyone spooked, whether they need to be or not. I’ve quit listening to Rush because that’s about all he does anymore (and he slammed libs for talking down the economy when Bush-41 was president).

    When the average person sees “86 million unemployed” – without questioning how that number was calculated – they see an impossible problem and tune out.

    People are becoming immune to apocalyptic talk.

    Comment by SoCalRobert — May 3, 2012 @ 8:28 pm - May 3, 2012

  7. #4 – You are right….. as of today, it is now 87 million not in the workforce. Record high numbers. Our population is not growing that fast to account for it. Jobs should be growing at 250K+ per month. It is Obama’s post 2009 policies that are stunting job growth. Facts, man, facts.

    Comment by GayPatriot — May 4, 2012 @ 10:04 am - May 4, 2012

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