That New Unemployment Number Isn't As Good As You Think


Anyone who remembers the George W. Bush years, when the media and Democrats considered an unemployment rate of 6 percent to be the sign of a putrid economy, has to get a chuckle out of the celebratory the attitude toward today’s announcement that the national unemployment rate is now down to 6.3 percent.

But that lower figure has more to do with the misleading math behind the way the federal government figures the unemployment rate than it does with actual economic recovery.

Case in point, this graphic comparing total jobs (which are now back up to a level we last saw in December of 2007) to the number of workers who are not in the labor force:

Jobs vs Labor Force_0


Overall, the labor force participation rate is at its lowest level since 1978:

Participation Rate April_0


Meanwhile, Democrats want to pile on a minimum wage hike to this ugly economic picture. Becuase somehow we’re supposed to believe that raising the cost of something the government doesn’t want you to buy, like cigarettes, will mean fewer smokers but raising the cost of low-skill, low-wage labor won’t cost those workers their jobs.