June 20, 2016

Our leaders in Washington, D.C., are rather enamored with the unemployment rate. As it hovers around 5 percent, the political class celebrates.

But there are millions of Americans who feel otherwise. While Washington touts the quantity of jobs, much of America is fed up with the low-quality, low-paying jobs that are fueling our “comeback.”

The April unemployment report indicates the overall labor force declined by 362,000, meaning that many people stopped looking for work. Add those folks to the ones not included in the report – those 16 or older who aren’t employed and haven’t actively sought employment in a month or more – and we have 94 million Americans outside the labor force, which is the highest number ever!

Think about that – out of 319 million Americans who are able to work, 94 million are “out of the labor force,” but not technically unemployed. Another telling statistic is that we have only 62.8 percent participation in the labor force, which is a 38-year low.

While politicians praise the job growth, most of these positions are not exactly career-track roles. Out of the 160,000 new jobs in the April report, many are administrative jobs related to the Affordable Care Act and a host of others are temporary and seasonal jobs.

Is this any way to build sustainable economic growth? I mean, sure, the unemployment rate is low. But the truth is most of these jobs are of the low-paying, dead-end variety.