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How Many People Have Left the Workforce?

Written By: Ed Morrissey  |  Posted: Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

As a follow-up to my earlier post on employment and stimulus, here's a chart of what may be the most significant data on the topic. Barack Obama claims that the unemployment rate dropping from 9.7% to 9.5% shows that we're moving in the right direction economically - but that data doesn't include those who have left the workforce out of discouragement. They have no jobs and have given up looking for another due to economic conditions, according to the categorization by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A chart shows the direction in which our economic policies have taken the US.

These represent the gross numbers of able-bodied workers outside the workforce and no longer looking for jobs. The red star indicated when Barack Obama's stimulus was passed, and we can see the effects or lack thereof on the workforce afterward. Not only has the unemployment rate gone up and the number of jobs continued to drop since February 2009, Americans are increasingly leaving the workforce instead of joining it.

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