It's getting harder and harder to find a job in America. That is the major conclusion drawn from a dismal jobs report released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor.
More the 625,000 Americans stopped looking for work in March, a staggering figure when compared to the 88,000 jobs that were created over the same period. Economists were expecting 200,000 new jobs in March, following better January and February results.
The nation's unemployment rate declined to 7.6 percent yet few people were trumpeting the news. That's because the rate doesn't count the number of Americans — 12 million total — who have stopped looking for jobs.
While the White House put its own positive spin on the report, labor market experts were left shaking their heads and for good reason: The nation's labor participation rate — the percentage of people working or looking for work — fell to 63 percent in March. It's the lowest participation rate since 1979 when another Democrat was in the White House, Jimmy Carter.
With fewer people contributing to the economy, there is less money going into public tax coffers and being spent on consumer goods. The result is a shaky job market.
What's going on?
While baby-boomers are retiring in big numbers and some workers are heading back to school, there is the very disturbing trend of people simply dropping out of the workforce. They've become so discouraged they just decide to quit. Some may never return to the labor force.
Joblessness is hitting all age groups and ethnic backgrounds, with blacks and Latinos bearing double-digit unemployment rates.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the labor participation rate of America's prime-age workers -- those between 25 and 54 -- is at its lowest level, 81.1 percent, since 1984. More than 565,000 unemployed workers in this category have stopped looking for work in the past year. They are the new young, rejected and restive.
Against this dismal backdrop, President Obama and Democrats in Congress and in some state legislatures are calling for higher tax increases.
Obama won't face re-election again but many Democrats and Republicans will. They're the ones who should be worried.