The markets reacted badly to the jobs report released yesterday, but I think that there was a bit of an overreaction. Why? It was really more of the same, even though unemployment ticked up to 8.2%, and there was little job growth; I think that the mild winter is skewing the seasonally adjusted statistics, so we don't know for sure what is going on. So I turn to my favorite picture, the 10 year trend in labor force participation rate:
What we are seeing is a continuation of the same trend that's been in progress since January 2009, steady decline in the percent of people working who are over 16. The uptick may turn out to be good news, but absent other factors, I doubt it. Regardless, the country has a real issue with employment that is burdening every level of government and the economy as a whole; namely a smaller proportion of adults are working. Hopefully, the slight uptick is the start of a turn around, but only time will tell; visually the trend looks unchanged at this point.