Jobless claims dropped last month sending the unemployment rate down a notch, but it’s too early to get excited that the dampened U.S. economy is on the mend.
The number of applicants for unemployment dropped to its lowest level in nine months in November according to U.S. Department of Labor reports that lowered unemployment numbers from 9 percent to 8.6 percent.
Those are the numbers voters will hear repeatedly as the 2012 presidential election heats up next year. But, voters should remember that the unemployment number the U.S. Department of Labor uses doesn’t include the number of discouraged workers – those who just quit looking for jobs.
When those jobless numbers are included, actual unemployment looks to be closer to 15.6 percent, and some economists pin the number of actual unemployment at closer to 22 percent.
There are other numbers that don’t bode well for those searching for work right now. For example, online job vacancies plummeted in November for the six consecutive month. In November, there were 76,200 less help wanted advertisements online than in the month before. The supply and demand ration suggests that there were 3.5 unemployed workers for every online ad posted last month.
The 8.6 percent unemployment rate simply measures the number of unemployed people actively looking for work. It doesn’t tell the complete story.
Voters should remember that as politicians begin making claims about the state of today’s economy.
Yes, the unemployment numbers dropped last month, but that may be because more of the unemployed gave up searching for jobs.