Discouraged In Hunt For A Job, Many Stop Looking
The U.S. population is growing. In normal times, the labor force — working or not — would be growing too. But these are not normal times, and the labor force is actually smaller than it was four years ago, meaning millions of people who should be there aren’t.
Discouraged U.S. Workers, 2008-2012
The labor market is shrinking as discouraged workers give up on their job searches. The Bureau of Labor Statistics describes discouraged workers as “persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.” The ranks of discouraged workers, by total numbers, have gone up in every age group over the past five years.
The reasons people drop out of the workforce are myriad. People go back to school. Others have health issues or family priorities that keep them from looking for work. But some stop looking because they are discouraged.
‘Discouraged’ is not just a state of mind. It’s an official term the Labor Department uses to describe the 844,000 people who last month had given up on trying to find a job because they didn’t think there was anything out there for them. So while the unemployment rate edged down this month, there are also more people who have quit sending out resumes, put their best suits back in the closet and stopped looking for work altogether.
Read More: NPR