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“9.4%” unemployment rate — with an asterisk; underemployment at between 16-19 percent, labor force shrinks

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 7, 2011 09:41 AM

How’s the Obama Jobs Death Toll today?

The official release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is right here.

The lower-than-expected jobless rate officially stands at 9.4 percent, with 103,000 new jobs on the rolls.

That’s very good news for those back in the work force.

But.

“It’s a bit of a mixed bag,” said Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody’s Analytics. Many analysts hoped to see larger job gains, and the drop in the unemployment rate is unlikely to be sustained, he said.

“The labor market ended last year with a bit of a thud,” he said. “But I think things will get much better this year.”

More people were hired in previous months than the government first estimated. The government’s revisions showed the economy added 210,000 jobs in October, above the previous figure of 172,000. November’s total was revised to 71,000, up from 39,000.

Over the past three months, the economy has added an average of 128,000 jobs. That’s just enough to keep up with the population growth. Nearly double is generally needed to significantly reduce the unemployment rate.

But other factors can affect the unemployment rate, at least temporarily. One key reason for the drop was that the government no longer counts people as unemployed when they stop looking for work.

More buts.

Via ZeroHedge, the labor force participation rate has dropped to a quarter-century low:

While today’s unemployment number came at a low 9.4%, well below expectations, the one and only reason for this is that the labor force in America has plunged to a fresh 25 year low. Assuming a reversion to the mean in the long-term average participation rate back to 66%, means that the civilian labor force, which in December came at 153,690, a drop of 260,000 from November, is in reality 157.6 million, a delta of 3.91 million currently unaccounted for. Maybe someone can ask Bernanke during his imminent presentation before Congress what happened to the unemployed population, which would have been 18.4 million if this labor force delta was incorporated, resulting in an unemployment rate of 11.7%.

And according to Gallup, the December underemployment rate rose two points to 19 percent.

Nearly one in five Americans continue to be unemployed or employed part-time looking for full-time work, according to the latest Gallup unemployment report, which states that the underemployment rate in America stood at 19 percent at the end of December, up from 17.2 percent at the end of November.

According to Gallup, seasonally unadjusted unemployment increased to 9.6 percent at the end of December — up from 9.3 percent in mid-December and 8.8 percent at the end of November.

Gallup also reports that 9.4 percent of Americans are working part-time jobs because they can’t find full-time employment. That’s up from 8.4 percent at the end of November.

Today’s BLS release puts the underemployment rate at 16.6 percent, up .3 percent from November — and deteriorating steadily since the start of the second quarter.

Conn Carroll at Heritage: Americans Are Fleeing Obama’s Crony Capitalist Economy

With the unemployment rate now at 9.4%, this marks the 20th month in a row that the unemployment has been over 9 percent, a post–World War II record. You are going to hear a lot of noise from the White House about how this drop from a 9.8% unemployment rate to 9.4% means the economy is in a strong recovery. This is false. The reality is that the only reason the unemployment rate dropped is because the U.S. labor force decreased by 434,000. More importantly 260,000 Americans dropped out of the labor force entirely. This means that the Obama economy is now driving Americans out of the labor force faster than it is bringing them.

The House GOP has its work cut out for it. The Democrats’ job-killing machine must be unplugged. Stat.

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