Men not at work

The new unemployment rate announced this morning was 5.3 percent, down from 5.5 percent last month. The AP story is here; the Bloomberg story is here. The economy is said to have added 223,000 jobs last month, but the decline in the unemployment rate is, as usual deceiving. The decline in the unemployment rate reflects the continuing decline in the labor participation rate: “The participation rate, which indicates the share of the working-age people in the labor force, [fell] to 62.6 percent, the lowest since October 1977, from 62.9 percent” (Bloomberg). “The result is that the proportion of Americans working or looking for work fell to a 38-year low” (AP). Thirty-eight years takes us back to 1977, the unhappy dawn of the Age of Carter.

Via Geoffrey Norman/Weekly Standard.