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article imageMany jobless Americans have given up on looking for employment

By Brian Booker     May 22, 2015 in Politics
The unemployment rate officially dropped to 5.4 percent in April, but a closer examination shows that 40 percent of America's 8.5 million unemployed people have given up on the job search. This data suggests that the labor market is worse than it seems.
Bob Funk, the CEO of Express Employment professionals and a former Fed Chairman for the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas sums it up, "This survey shows that some of the troubling trends we observed last year are continuing. While the economy is indeed getting better for some, for others who have been unemployed long term, they are increasingly being left behind."
Fifty-five percent of those who have been unemployed for two years or more have dropped out of the labor market. Meanwhile, 32 percent of those who have been unemployed for between 13 to 24 months have quit looking for a job. Somewhat surprisingly the number of dropouts jumps to 34 percent for those unemployed for between seven and 12 months.
The numbers are much better for those unemployed for three months or less. Only 21 percent report have reported dropping out.
Participation in the labor force has dropped to a historical low, helping to explain the substantial drop in the unemployment rate.
The labor force participation rate has fallen from 66.3 percent in February of 2007 to 62.8 percent in April of 2015. Those who have dropped out of the labor force (meaning they aren't looking for employment, nor currently working) thus account for a substantial portion of the drop in unemployment.
Of course, many these people are still unemployed, they're simply not being counted as such.
The United States U-6 unemployment rate, which counts discouraged workers as well as those who have been forced to work part-time but want full-time employment, remains historically high at 10.8 percent.
More about Unemployment, Labor market, Jobless rate
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