Unemployment Falls, But Work Force Contracts

And now for the good news. The projections running in to today were for a gain of around 120,000 private sector jobs and a loss of some number of government jobs – overall job growth of less than 100,000. The actual results give us 154,000 new private sector jobs, a loss of 37,000 government jobs, and a total of 117,000 net new jobs. The unemployment rate falls from 9.2 percent to 9.1 percent.

A-ha – that’s the bad news. The dip in the unemployment rate is a result of some number of people getting discouraged again and leaving the job hunt. According to James Pethokoukis of Reuters, had the participation rate not fallen so much, the topline unemployment number would be around 11 percent. This is a water-treading report, not a reason for brand new optimism.