I have been saying this for some time: Don’t uncork a bottle of champagne to celebrate the greatly reduced unemployment rate in Ashtabula County and nationally. There is a good reason why the rate is so low: Workers have left the workforce, causing a drop in the unemployment rate, because they cannot find jobs they’re trained for, they have relocated to other areas offering better job opportunities, or because their unemployment benefits have run out, and they are no longer reflected in the unemployment rate number.
Here is what Dean Baker from Campaign for America’s Future has to say: The unemployment rate edged down to 5.6 percent in December from 5.7 percent in November (revised from an earlier reported 5.8 percent), the Labor Department reported today. However, the main reason was that 273,000 workers reportedly left the labor force. The employment-to-population ratio (EPOP) was unchanged at 59.2 percent, roughly 4.0 percentage points below the pre-recession level.
There is more to this story. Stay tuned.