Roughly 347,000 Americans gave up looking for work in December, allowing progressives to claim a sharp drop in the formal unemployment rate during the month.
The formal unemployment rate fell from 7.0 percent to 6.7 percent even though only about 74,000 extra people got jobs during the month, according to the Bureau of Labor Standards.
That 74,000 number is actually less than the monthly influx of additional American adults and immigrants, which adds up to roughly 90,000.
Over the last year, the BLS data showed that the percentage of people who have jobs stayed flat, indicating the average American is seeing little or no economic recovery in President Barack Obama’s economy.
Nationally, Americans’ jobs’ also had slightly shorter hours in December, compared to November. “The average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls edged down by 0.1 hour to 34.4 hours in December,” the BLS reported.
The BLS’ December survey of companies’ data showed an employment increase of only 74,000, in an economy with 150 million jobs.
The parallel December survey of households showed a drop of 490,000 in the number of people who are classified as unemployed. Some got jobs, most were deemed to have dropped out of the workforce because they did not look for work during the last several weeks.
The companies’ slow hiring, and the rapid drop in people looking for work and classified as unemployed, dropped the BLS’s estimate of the nation’s unemployment rate down to 6.7 percent in December.
That’s down from 7.9 percent last December.
But the sharp drop is not caused by massive hiring.
Instead, the drop is largely caused by the high number of Americans who have given up looking for work in Obama’s slow-growth, high immigration, economy.
Since last December, the number of Americans and immigrants working or looking for work has dropped by 552,000, and the number with jobs has risen by only 1,374,000, according to the household survey.
That combination dropped the estimated unemployment rate from 7.9 percent in December 2012 to 6.3 percent in December 2013, according to the household survey.
If the workers who dropped out in 2013 had not given up looking for work, the unemployment rate would have been 7.9 percent in December, according to an estimate by James Pethokoukis, a economics expert at the American Enterprise Institute.
The drop in the percentage of Americans with jobs or looking for jobs is highlighted by the BLS’ estimate of the workforce “participation rate,” which fell from 63.6 percent of Americans last December to 62.8 percent in December 2013.