Deciphering unemployment statistics isn’t easy. It is easier to take the number released by the government (~ 5%), and cheer the decline. The participation rate, however, has relatively stable (~63%). Add them up and get ~ 68%, which leaves 32% unaccounted. Some are in school. Some are retired. Some are the truly uncounted unemployed who would like to work, but figuring out the total that would be working if they could is harder, possibly impossible. Regardless of the labels of student or retired or whatever, many people would take jobs if they were the right jobs. For 32% of the population, being unemployed is preferable or necessary, especially for those who can’t find jobs that pay enough or who need to stay out of the workforce to recover or tend to others. The shifts in the effects influencing 32% of the population means the bigger story in economics of individuals may not be the unemployment number or the participation number, but the ones that fit between them.
(Click on the chart for the link.)