Imagine, if you will, that the entire population of the city of St. Louis decided to stop looking for a job and just gave up because the economy was so bad - and the government called it good news.
That's what happened today.
The Obama administration announced that the unemployment rate dropped from 9 percent to 8.6 percent, and called it "improvement." But the reality is, the economy is still not creating jobs anywhere near fast enough. So, in the month of November, 315,000 people gave up and stopped looking for a job. The population of St. Louis is 319,000.
All it will take to get the unemployment rate under 8 percent by Election Day is for a few million more Americans to get discouraged and give up on the economy - but that would not be an "improvement" no matter how hard the Obama administration tried to spin it.
The economy is growing very sluggishly. It is not growing fast enough to replace the millions of jobs lost since Obama's economic policies failed to heal the economy, nor is it growing fast enough to generate the millions of new jobs necessary to accommodate a growing population.
The family, friends and neighbors of those 315,000 discouraged Americans who gave up on Obama's economy last month know that the economy is not "recovering" in any meaningful sense of the word.
No economic data that shows hundreds of thousands of Americans giving up and dropping out of the workforce can be called good news.
Until the economy is growing fast enough to give more Americans a reason to look for a job - until we see the labor force grow rather than shrink - the economic "recovery" is a political talking point, not a reality experienced by ordinary Americans.