Drop in Jobless Rate Is Nothing to Cheer

The official unemployment rate dropped from 9.2 to 9.1 percent last month as 117,000 new jobs were added to the American economy. The improvement in the rate, however, was almost entirely a result of Americans giving up the search for work. At the current rate of job addition, it would take more than 20 years to return to pre-2008 crash levels. As a helpful reminder, the Labor Department counts only those actively seeking work when determining the nation’s official unemployment rate.

Meanwhile, we learned that almost 1,500 American millionaires paid no income taxes in 2009 while the average annual income of an American taxpayer dropped by about 6 percent between 2008 and 2009.

If these figures have you worried, take a deep breath and relax. President Obama wants the American people — including the 8 million who lost their livelihoods to Wall Street’s shenanigans — to know that, somehow and at some unknown point in the future, “Things will get better, and we’re gonna get there together.” –ARK

The Huffington Post:

In July, 117,000 jobs were added in the economy, and the unemployment rate dropped to 9.1 percent from 9.2 percent. But the drop in the unemployment rate should not be celebrated as a signal of strong growth: It came almost entirely from Americans dropping out of the labor force.

As more Americans simply give up looking for work, the employment-to-population ratio fell to 63.9 percent in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest snapshot of the U.S. labor market, a new low.

“We’re continuing to see very weak growth,” said Dean Baker, economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “117,000 new jobs is a really pathetic growth rate. It might be fine if we were at 4.5 percent unemployment, but in the context of 9.1 percent, it’s going to take us more than 20 years to get us back to where we used to be.”

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