Fewer Employed but Unemployment Rate Drops Significantly

February 4th, 2011
in econ_news

unemployment pic Econintersect:  The unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 9.0 percent in January, while nonfarm payroll employment changed little (+36,000), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today (February 4, 2011).  The decline in the unemployment rate is not the result of a large increase in the number of people working, but rather because more than a half million people have left the labor force over the past month, according to the way the Dept. of Labor measures the labor force.

Follow up:

Almost a million people (930,000) have disappeared from the labor force over the past four months.  So the end result is that, while there are 55,000 less people employed now than four months ago, the unemployment rate has fallen from 9.6% to 9.0%.  

unemployment 2-4-2011

Sources:  GEI Analysis and BLS Employment Situation Report, Feb. 4, 2011

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