Almost any way that you cut it, the new — poor — report on job creation in the U.S. economy is not encouraging.
The addition of 115,000 jobs in April is far below the pace needed to reduce serious levels of unemployment, even if the actual unemployment rate went down to 8.1 percent.
It’s not that the economy is in a free-fall, as a series of reports over the course of the week showed that the recovery from the 2008 recession continues to be reflected in productivity and other gains in industrial production. The outlook isn’t that bad — it is just that the large numbers of jobless folks are not getting back into the labor force fast enough.
The slight fall in the unemployment rate was caused in part by fewer people seeking work.
“About half of the decline in the labor force can be explained by demographic factors. Baby boomers are retiring, and fewer teenagers work nowadays,” The Washington Post reported. “This would be happening even if the economy were healthy. But the other half is due to the slack in hiring.” Still, it’s not good news that the labor force is shrinking, whatever the reason.