By most indicators, today’s jobs report was cause for relief. That the unemployment rate dropped three-tenths to 7.0 without a decline in the labor participation force is especially notable; in a good number of recent reports the decline of the unemployment rate has been at least partially attributable to people dropping out of the job search altogether.
None of that, however, changes the fact that November’s labor participation was the second-lowest in the past decade, save for October:
That goes a long way toward explaining why Obama’s approval numbers on the economy are so low despite a few months in a row of modest hiring. Until that labor participation number goes up, the economy isn’t “improving” in a way that’s immediately palpable, whatever the larger indicators say.
Now, good news for everybody but Ted Cruz: “The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) fell by 331,000 to 7.7 million in November.”
The deplorable rollout of Healthcare.gov and the seizure over “if you like your crap plans you can keep them” has distracted Obamacare’s critics in the past two months from their main narrative that the ACA is a job killer. One of their specific predictions is that the ACA’s mandate that employers provide insurance for everyone over 30 hours or pay a fine will create a part time economy. Granted, the employer mandate doesn’t kick in until next summer, but if this warning were in any way true, that part time number would be going up, not down by 330K.