Bad news on the U.S. job front: While the country’s unemployment rate took its biggest drop since April 1998, the decrease was due not so much to a recovering economy, but to the fact that 260,000 people have given up looking for work.

A problem with existing job figures is that those who are employed part-time, and those who have given up looking for work, are not counted in the overall unemployment figure. For a more appropriate gauge of unemployment, try the “underemployment” measure. –JCL

The BBC:

The US unemployment rate dropped to 9.4% in December from 9.8% in November, the biggest one-month drop since April 1998, official figures show.

Some 103,000 jobs were created last month, the Labor Department said, although this was fewer than the 145,000 to 175,000 forecast.

The lower rate came not only because more people found jobs, but also because 260,000 had given up looking.

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