Chris Mayer
April 12, 2013

So the jobs report came out last week and rattled the market a bit. But there is a different perspective to this whole thing that I think is far more important. It also fingers a much more sinister trend afoot.

First, the conventional view: The unemployment rate fell to a new four-year low of 7.6%. Everybody knew that was bogus. It fell because half a million Americans left the job market. The unemployment figure the government publishes is a fiction anyway. It’s a government-manufactured number. I never really pay any attention to it, except to make fun of it, like I am now.

A somewhat less conventional view is to focus on job participation. This number is harder to fudge than the unemployment figure. It just shows you how many people are working or seeking work as a percentage of the civilian population (minus some adjustments for kids under 16, people in prisons, etc.).

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