Quick Takes | Jobs and Unemployment

3.6 million “missing workers”

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Although June’s unemployment rate of 9.5% was the same as the unemployment rate one year ago, labor force participation was an entire percentage point lower, reflecting a backlog of “missing workers” who either dropped out of or never entered the labor force during the downturn.
In the last two months, the labor force has declined by 974,000 workers, reversing much of the 1.7 million increase in the labor force in the first four months of the year. The labor force should have increased by around 3.5 million workers from the start of the recession in December 2007 to June 2010, given working-age population growth over this period, but instead it decreased by 128,000.
This means that the pool of “missing workers” now numbers around 3.6 million, none of whom are reflected in the official unemployment count. As these workers enter or re-enter the labor force in search of work, this will contribute to keeping the unemployment rate high. –From Heidi Shierholz’ June jobs report


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