Guest Editorial


Last month's 1 million missing workers:
Who were they?

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robert romanoIn April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the amount of people with jobs decreased by 73,000.

Yet, we are to believe that the unemployment rate dropped, from 6.7 percent to 6.3 percent.

These are two irreconcilable data points. So, how did it happen?

964,000 people left the civilian labor force, which is to say, they gave up looking for work. We would add, because there isn't any to be found.

This led to a 62.6 percent labor participation rate — which puts it back to levels only seen twice since 1978.

You see, if you are one of the jobless who simply gives up hope, you don't count anymore. Not according Erica "Commie Youth Camp" Groshen's reading of jobs data.

So, who left the labor force? 478,000 were aged 16-24. 472,000 were aged 25-54. That is 950,000 people, or more than 98 percent of the net total.

Put another way, labor force non-participation increased by 0.36 percentage points. According to an Americans for Limited Government analysis of government data, 0.18 points of that came from 16-24 year olds, and another 0.18 points came from 25-54 year olds.

Those aged 55 and older was a wash. While 101,000 aged 55-64 dropped out of the labor force, this was offset by those 65 and over staying in the labor force longer. Not in labor force seniors decreased by 86,000, while those in the labor force increased by 163,000.

There was no retirement wave last month. The labor force exodus was owed entirely to Americans in their prime working years who either are failing to enter the labor force, or have lost their jobs and gave up looking for another one.

Such is the state of the U.S. economy, where no matter how much money the Federal Reserve prints, or how much money the government spends, we cannot get out of this depression.

As for why there is no work to be found right now and why the economy only grew in the first quarter at a 0.1 percent annualized rate, one needn't look any further than the policies that have come out of Washington, D.C. since the financial crisis almost 6 years ago.

Banks were bailed out with more than $1.6 trillion from the Fed to buy back worthless mortgage backed securities from the housing bubble, and as a result the market never found its bottom. We've been trying to grow off a mountain of debt that can never possibly be paid back, when it would have been better to let the losses be felt and let the chips fall where they may.

We might already be back to robust growth but for that.

Add to that the job-killing regulations stemming from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) carbon endangerment finding, and from Obamacare's many mandates, plus the ever-escalating cost of doing business in the U.S. versus overseas, and it is easy to see why capital is flowing elsewhere.

This is a post-growth economy that has uprooted its capacity to produce goods here and has sacrificed its cost competitiveness on the altar of credit creation and excessive regulation. It has hollowed us out and increased the dependence of millions on government for sustenance.

And until those underlying facts change about our economy, the welfare state is here to stay and the youth of America will continue to spend the best years of their lives waiting for real opportunity.

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government.