Labor market in crisis as half of unemployed have stopped looking for work

So much for the labor market recovering…

A new poll conducted by Express Employment Professionals found that 47 percent of unemployed Americans have quit looking for work, while 82 percent stated that they are “becoming more discouraged the longer I am unemployed.”

When asked how much they agreed or disagreed with the statement “I’ve completed given up looking for a job,” seven percent of respondents said they “agree completely”; seven percent said “agree a lot;” 15 percent said “agree somewhat”; and 18 percent said “agree little.”

A substantial number of the respondents noted that their unemployment benefits have kept them from looking harder for an employment opportunity. In fact, 82 percent of the survey participants said that they would “search harder and wider for a job” if their jobless benefits ran out or the government ceased issuing such checks.

Nevertheless, an overwhelming majority (91 percent) were positive in believing that they would be finding a job soon as they agreed with the statement “I’m hopeful that I will find a job I really want in the next six months.”

“When I see that 47 percent of unemployed Americans agree that they have given up looking for work, I’m shocked because that suggests the economy is much worse than many people realize,” said Bob Funk, CEO of Express and a former chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, in a statement.

The official unemployment rate stands at 6.3 percent, but the problem that some economists and politicos have is that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) omit certain variables in order to suppress that number. For instance, the federal government does not include part-time employment, those who have quite looking for work or those who have left the labor force and hit retirement in their unemployment statistic.

According to John Williams of Shadow Stats, if the United States were to calculate unemployment the way the government did during the Great Depression then the real jobless rate would be in the low- to mid-20s.

“Not all of the unemployed are counted in the BLS unemployment numbers. This is no secret,” wrote former Texas Republican Congressman and three-time presidential candidate Ron Paul. “In 1994 government statisticians came up with the term ‘discouraged worker’ to remove entire swaths of people from the unemployment statistic. Now all the government has to do to improve the unemployment numbers is discourage people from looking for a job.”

We reported late last year of how the BLS highlighted that 91.5 million Americans did not participate in the labor force, while the labor force participation rate reached just over 60 percent. It is projected that within the next three years, the number of Americans not in the labor force will actually exceed the number of people actually working.

“I believe that all the signs of economic recovery are just QE symptoms in disguise,” wrote Peter Schiff, president of Euro Pacific Capital. “Take away the QE and the economy will tilt back into a recession even more severe than the one experienced before QE1 was launched. But as long as the QE persists, the economy will never truly recover. Instead, QE infinity will insure the development of dangerous asset bubbles in stocks and real estate.”

The Federal Reserve has already conceded on several occasions that the labor market is still facing a difficult time and that more stimulus is needed to improve the unemployment rate. Fed Chair Janet Yellen has vowed to do more to spur work, particularly for youth.

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