As progressive economists are pointing out, because so many people have now left the labor force.
I’ll be happy to give the president credit whenever he actually achieves something. No matter how you hear it spun, this isn’t it.
The Labor Department reported a decline of 315,000 people in the labor market in October. This was the main factor driving a drop of 0.4 percentage points in the unemployment rate to 8.6 percent. The
establishment survey showed a weaker than expected 80,000 job gain for the month, although this bad news was largely offset by upward revisions of 72,000 to the job growth numbers for the prior two months.
The drop in participation was entirely among women and especially black women. (Among married women, employment rose by 194,000, so this was not a case of women as second earners dropping out of the labor force.) Participation numbers among white women fell by 199,000, a decline of 0.2 percentage points. The drop among black women was 164,000, a drop of 1.2 pp. These monthly numbers are highly erratic and it is likely that at least part of this drop will be reversed in future months. Nonetheless there had been a trend of declining participation rates among both white and black women even prior to the November plunge. This suggests that there is a real issue of women losing access to jobs, although the December figures may show some reversal.