Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Discouraged Americans Leave Labor Force

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Discouraged Americans Leave Labor Force

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON After a full year of fruitless job hunting, Natasha Baebler just gave up.

She had already abandoned hope of getting work in her field, counseling people with disabilities. But she couldn't land anything else, either not even a job interview at a telephone call center.

Until she feels confident enough to send out rsums again, she'll get by on food stamps and disability checks from Social Security and live with her parents in St. Louis.

"I'm not proud of it," says Baebler, who is in her mid-30s and is blind. "The only way I'm able to sustain any semblance of self- preservation is to rely on government programs that I have no desire to be on."

Baebler's frustrating experience has become all too common nearly four years after the Great Recession ended: Many Americans are still so discouraged that they have given up on the job market.

Older Americans have retired early. Younger ones have enrolled in school. Others have suspended their job hunt until the employment landscape brightens. Some, like Baebler, are collecting disability checks.

It isn't supposed to be this way. After a recession, an improving economy is supposed to bring people back into the job market.

Instead, the number of Americans in the labor force those who have a job or are looking for one fell by nearly half a million people from February to March, the government said Friday. And the percentage of working-age adults in the labor force what's called the participation rate fell to 63.3 percent last month. It's the lowest such figure since May 1979.

The falling participation rate tarnished the only apparent good news in the jobs report the Labor Department released Friday: The unemployment rate dropped to a four-year low of 7.6 percent in March from 7.7 in February.

People without a job who stop looking for one are no longer counted as unemployed. That's why the U.S. unemployment rate dropped in March despite weak hiring. If the 496,000 who left the labor force last month had still been looking for jobs, the unemployment rate would have risen to 7. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.