CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Since September the labor force participation rate, which is the measure to how many people are working or looking for work, has increased. Yet September was also the lowest point it had been in 40 years.
Some people who gave up looking for jobs are restarting their searches, and there’s a reason for job seekers to be more optimistic. The unemployment rate is down to 4.9% and the U.S. added 2.6 million jobs last year.
However, we’re still recovering from all the jobs lost in the recession, and a higher cost of living.
Karl Petrick, an Assoc. Professor of Economics at WNEU, told 22News, “The problem so far has really been wages even though unemployment has gone down people haven’t found jobs that are terribly well paying in general and that also puts a damper on peoples spending and their expectations regarding what they should be able to see in the future.”
Participation has been dropping since the start of the millennium, with baby boomers retiring and younger people dropping out of the job market.
There are still 2.2 million people that have reported being unemployed for six months or longer.