Well, world peace would be nice, wouldn't it? Not the point though of this story. This article (12 million jobs added since the recession) refers to the recent November jobs numbers released last Friday which indicate unemployment continues to decline and 211,000 jobs were added. In addition. wage growth is on the upswing.
Is the economy truly improving? What do the unemployment numbers really mean? It depends on who you ask. This video took a dismal view last month when the October numbers were released. This report in US News and World Report sheds some insight into why unemployment seems to be so low but the labor force participation rate is shrinking with nearly 94 million people neither employed or looking for work. But why? According to the article, this is not a new phenomenon, but a slow trend that began around the year 2000. It may be that a fair chunk of that labor force are retirees as baby boomers started turning 62. Coupled with this though is the highest percentage of people working later in life ( 40.7%) , since 1961. As the article further states, "It's also important to note that the percentage of older workers participating in the labor market started climbing in the mid-1990s, well before the Dot Com bubble crashed and the Great Recession walloped Americans' nest eggs. The narrative that older workers are still reluctant to retire solely because of the Great Recession just isn't as applicable as it was a few years ago." The low levels of participation in the labor force may not be primarily related to economic factors, but rather the changing demographics.
The reasons may be that large numbers of retirees hit at the same time, younger folks are staying in school longer and a surprising factor, disability. An older work force will have more with disabilities who may not return to the work force.
There has also been a drop in the so called " prime age workers" between the ages of 25-54. There is no easy explanation for that. male participation in the workforce has been declining ( 69%) for 66 years and female participation has dropped in recent years to 56.7%. These trends are expected to continue.
There is no magic pill. There are a lot of job openings, but as the article explains there may also be a skills mismatch and perhaps allowing more legal immigration of highly skilled workers to fill these gaps would stimulate the economy.
As the piece concludes, even though this has recently become a hot button issue, it has been a long time in coming and will take a long time to turn around.