Press Releases | Jobs and Unemployment

News from EPI After two years of little improvement, labor market takes solid step forward

For Immediate Release: Friday, January 6, 2012
Contact: Phoebe Silag or Karen Conner, news@epi.org 202-775-8810

After two years of little improvement, labor market takes solid step forward

Despite a strong month, December caps off two years of little improvement in the labor market. In December 2009, the unemployment rate was 9.9 percent, and it is now 8.5 percent. How much improvement does that drop over the last two years actually represent? As EPI economist Heidi Shierholz explains in today’s Jobs Picture, given weak job prospects, many would-be workers have dropped out of (or never entered) the labor force over this period, which reduces the measured unemployment rate but does not represent real improvement in employment. If the workers who comprise the drop in the labor force participation rate over the last two years were in the labor force and counted as unemployed, the unemployment rate would be 9.5 percent right now instead of 8.5 percent. Click here to see full analysis.