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On January 9, the US government told Americans that the unemployment rate had fallen to a comforting 5.6 percent, an indication that the Federal Reserve’s policy of Quantitative Easing was successful in restoring the US economy...
...the 5.6 percent unemployment rate (U.3) does not include unemployed people who have not looked for a job in the previous four weeks. These unemployed are called “discouraged workers.” If they have been discouraged for less than one year, they are counted in a seldom-reported measure of unemployment (U.6). This rate stands at 11.2 percent
The story worsens. The 11.2 percent rate does not include the millions of unemployed long-term discouraged workers (those discouraged for more than one year). Prior to 1994, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics counted the long-term discouraged as unemployed, and the government of Canada still does. John Williams (shadowstats.com) continues to include the long-term discouraged. When the long- term discouraged are added to the U.6 measure, the rate of unemployment again doubles, to 23 percent.
The CBO said factors contributing to the decline in labor force participation include the continued retirement of baby boomers, reduced participation by less-skilled workers, and the lingering effects of the recession and weak recovery
"In addition," the report said, "certain aspects of federal laws, including provisions of the Affordable Care Act and the structure of the tax code, will reduce participation in the labor force by reducing people’s incentive to work or seek work."