As I've said ad nauseum, the only numbers that really matter are the percentage of people in the population who are working. All other numbers are useless. This includes the U-3 unemployment rate that is the one quoted in the newspapers every first Friday of every month, which calculates the rate based, not on the population as a whole, but only on those in the work force, i.e., those who haven't become so discouraged as to stop even looking for work anymore.
Yesterday the BLS released the December unemployment numbers showing that the rate had dropped from 7.0% to 6.7%. Good news? Look again... the economy only created 74,000 new jobs and more than half of those were part time. So how can the rate drop? Because a half million people simply stopped looking for work.
Here are charts that tell the real story (and it's not pretty):
As this chart shows, employment took a significant dive from over 52% of the population (that includes retirees, students etc.) to under 48%, a drop of 5%, when the housing market/financial system collapse occurred in 2007-2008, and it's never come back. That 5% represents something like 12 million Americans out of the 240 million or so in the "non-institutional" population.
So why has the unemployment rate dropped? Here's the sad truth:
So, if the same number of Americans were actually seeking work today as were seeking work in June 2009 (immediately after Obama's $1 trillion stimulus), we would have 11% unemployment.
Oh, and if the LIVs would have understood this, we wouldn't have had a second term of Obama, because his tenure as President would have been perceived as the abject failure that it is. But apparently there are too many people who must prefer unemployment, so long as Obama keeps the food stamps flowing.