The full report does delve into most of these concerns. In fact, the broadest unemployment gauge, which includes part-time workers who'd prefer full-time work, dropped to 9.3% in November, having steadily improved since March 2010 when it was at 17.1%.


The troubling trend isn't the unemployment rate; it's the size of the labor force. Labor force participation has steadily declined from 66% to less than 63% over the past nine years, the lowest it's been since 1977. A record 95 million people are opting out of the workforce. ... Retiring baby boomers account for about half of the decline, but prime-age workers (i.e., ages 25-54) have been leaving the labor force, too, and the reasons aren't entirely clear.

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