According to the headlines, our unemployment rate fell to 6.3% in April (from 6.7%); it hasn’t been that low since before the Panic of 2008. This also came as the private sector and state and local governments added 288,000 jobs. Good news, eh?
It is good news, for those 288,000 Americans. However. There’s always a however.
806,000 Americans gave up looking for work in this economy and dropped out of the labor force. The labor force participation rate fell to 62.8% (from 63.2% in March), the lowest rate in nearly 40 years. If this number had only held steady at March’s value, the unemployment rate would be in the 6.7%-6.8% range.
These data also come on the heels of our GDP datum for the first quarter of 2014, which ended in March: GDP grew at the sickly rate of 0.1% over the 4th quarter 2013.
The jobs report turns out to indicate a fine beginning for the second quarter of 2014.