That 6.2% unemployment rate 0bama’s been bragging about lately? This is what made it possible:
In 2008, it was closer to 66%. The most recent peak was back in 2000 or 2001, at about 67%.
Do the math: Which is better, 10% unemployment with a 66% labor participation rate, or 6.2% unemployment with a 62.5% labor participation rate?
2008: (1-0.1)*0.66=0.594 2013: (1-0.062)*0.625=0.58625
Bottom line: even with lower U-3 unemployment, a smaller percentage of people are gainfully employed today than in 2008. If the labor participation rate had stayed at 66%, U-3 unemployment today would be about 11.2%. Thanks, 0bama! :-P