Allen B. West

Not an improvement: Unemployment falls, but workforce participation hardly budges

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The October jobs report was released stating we had 214,000 jobs created and that was above the necessary rate needed to keep up with population growth (around 150,000). So the unemployment rate was lowered to 5.8 percent. However, once again the corresponding workforce participation rate was little changed at 62.8 percent in October and has been essentially flat since April. The employment-population ratio increased to 59.2 percent in October.

We must continue to be concerned that we do not have an increase in the workforce participation rate corresponding with a lowering of the unemployment rate. As we have presented here, there are some 92 million Americans who have dropped out of the workforce and are not even counted as part of the unemployment calculation.

We should be aware that at some point in time we will have to acknowledge what the U-6 report tells us regarding the employment situation in America. We all want economic success for our brother and sister Americans.

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LFP Participation

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a Free Market Leadership Summit put on by the Job Creators Network at Northwood University, Florida campus. It was very important to hear the stories of entrepreneurs who are fighting to keep Americans employed — and the obstacles they face.

The luncheon speaker for the event was Home Depot Founder, Bernie Marcus. He was very clear on the challenges he faced starting Home Depot back in 1979, and conveyed his concerns as to whether he could do so now. For him, the tax, healthcare costs and regulatory environment today are severe impediments to successfully starting a business — which is contrary to the principles of the American free market system.

In my new capacity as CEO of the National Center for Policy Analysis, I’d be very interested to hear from small business owners. I’d like to know what major challenges you face in operating your business. We can only begin to develop the right policies by hearing from those being affected. Small businesses represent some 75 percent of our economy, and employs millions more than major corporations — it is the life blood of our free enterprise economy.

So, what do you think? Is the unemployment rate really 5.8 percent? What do you believe the rate truly is — we know the figures for the minority communities are absolutely shocking.

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