08.30.2013 2

Little to celebrate this Laborless Day

HopeTermsandConditionsBy Robert Romano

5.3 million.

That is the net increase in population of those aged 16 to 64 from January 2009 to present data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics from the month of July shows. Guess how many of them found jobs. Go on. I dare you.


The rest of them are not even in the labor force — that is, looking for work. Those not participating in the labor force aged 16 to 64 has increased by more than 5 million since Barack Obama took office.

That is one reason why the labor force participation rate of those aged 16 to 64 has dropped from 75 percent to 73 percent in that time.

If participation and other data points had remained constant, there would be another 3 million or so working today for those under 65.

In the meantime, labor force participation of those 65 and older has actually increased, from 17.2 percent to 18.2 percent even as the population increased by 5.8 million. Those employed 65 and older has increased 1.4 million.

This puts the lie to the idea that a wave of Baby Boomer retirements has led to the drop in labor participation. It has not. If anything, it appears that Boomers are working a lot longer than past generations.

All of which paints a daunting picture for the future labor market, but also the prospects of a lost generation of opportunity.

All told, right now, 21.8 million people cannot find full-time work in this economy or have given up looking since 2009. Labor force participation across the board has dropped from 65.7 percent to 63.4 percent. 9.4 million have left the labor force all together.

Meanwhile, the same government statistics office used to bring all this data to light reports that the “official” unemployment rate has dropped from 7.8 percent in January 2009 to 7.4 percent today.

It of course fails to take into account the dire nature of the current labor market and the amount of people who have simply given up looking for work because it’s hopeless.

And unless the economy experiences a dramatic recovery in the near future, the ranks of those laborless — unemployed and not looking for work — will only continue to pile up. Soon it will be more lucrative to just go on welfare and government health care than it will be to find work.

A laborless society. That will be Obama’s legacy.

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

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