The federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics released the unemployment numbers for April this morning, showing that the official rate has declined to 7.5 percent, down from 7.6 percent last month. The rate was 7.9 percent at the beginning of the year.
The total number of unemployed was put at 11.7 million, down 673,000 since January. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that the labor force participation rate is currently at 63.3 percent, down from 63.6 percent at the beginning of the year. The BLS also noted: “The employment-population ratio, 58.6 percent, was about unchanged over the month and has shown little movement, on net, over the last year.”
That’s why, despite the fact that the unemployment numbers are dropping, it doesn’t feel like a recovery. The numbers are dropping not because a lot of people are getting jobs, but because a lot of people have given up looking for work in the first place.