Half of Unemployment Rate Decline Due to People Giving Up Job Search, Labor Data Show

By Matt Cover | December 2, 2011 | 1:15 PM EST

In this Nov. 2, 2011 photo, Clarence Turner of Little Canada, Minn., hands in his resume at the Minneapolis Career Fair held in Bloomington, Minn., where he was looking for a hotel audit job, preferably on the night shift, to help juggle family life with a baby. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)

(CNSNews.com) – Half of the 0.4 percent decline in the nation’s unemployment rate is due to people giving up hope of finding a job and leaving the labor force altogether in November, government data and CNSNews.com calculations show.

In the month of November, 315,000 people left the labor force altogether, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Friday. The unemployment rate, reported today, has declined by 0.4 percent – from 9.0 in October to 8.6 percent in November.

However, had those 315,000 people not left the labor force, the unemployment rate would have been 8.8 percent – 0.2 percent higher than the officially-reported 8.6 percent rate for November.

The unemployment rate went down for two reasons: the economy created 120,000 jobs and 315,000 people left the labor force in November. If those who had left the labor force are added back into it and added to the ranks of the unemployed – because they do not have jobs – the small decline in the unemployment rate is cut in half – to 0.2 percent.

President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

In October, the size of the labor force was 154 million people and 13.9 million were unemployed. In November, the labor force was 153.9 million people and 13.3 million were unemployed.

Other BLS data show the true jobless nature of the current economy. Despite the 120,000 jobs added in November, the overall population grew by 172,000, meaning that there are not enough jobs being created to keep up with population growth. Those 172,000 people went right into the ranks of those who are not in the labor force at all, a figure which rose to 86.6 million in November, up 487,000 during the month.

Secondly, the number of those who “want a job now,” according to the BLS, rose 192,000 in November, going from 6.4 to 6.55 million people in November.