The civilian labor force shrank by 342,000 workers over the last month, remaining far below what it was when the economic “recovery” started nearly 3 years ago, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If the labor force had not declined, the unemployment rate would be 8.3% instead of the 8.1% now being reported.
This is the first time the labor force shrank in any recovery since World War 11.
The decline in the workforce combined with the growing population has pushed the labor force participation rate down to 63.6%. That’s down from 65.7% in mid-2009, and is the lowest since 1981.
The shrinking labor force masks the true unemployment numbers because people who stop looking for work are no longer counted as unemployed.
Many of those who’ve stopped looking for jobs have instead signed up for disability benefits.
More than 225,000 workers applied for Social Security disability benefits last month alone, and nearly 90,000 were enrolled, according to the Social Security Administration.
Nearly 1 million workers have already applied to get on the disability program so far this year, and more than a third will eventually be enrolled.
Investors.com reported recently, that more than 5 million workers and their families have enrolled in the disability program since Obama took office.