The latest word from the federal number-crunchers says the November unemployment rate dropped to 8.6% from 9% the previous month. So why doesn’t it feel like the job market is getting better?
Simple reason: The government does not include people whose unemployment benefits have run out in the official unemployment figures. So while 120,000 new jobs were added to the economy in November, the more important number was 315,000–the number of people who dropped out of the work force.
That is a distressing number. As The New York Times pointed out
, unemployment and underemployment is a problem that Congress continues to largely ignore at a time when government economic stimulus and programs to preserve some semblance of a social safety net are needed more than ever.
As a tax pro, I look to government reports for a lot of reliable information. But I hate it when the official statistics mask the reality of Americans’ daily lives.