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Now, one could do a Clinton-type dance around the meaning of 'substantial improvement'


It is true that the total number of people aged 25-54 (not likely to be aging out or retiring early) working has increased from a year ago, 93 to 94 million. While that 1% or so growth is an improvement, I would not say it's a substantial one.

Ok. But I would guess most economists, and most other people, think a drop of 1.2 points in the unemployment rate is substantial. Unemployment is down, underemployment is down, discouraged workers are down, part time workers declined while full time workers rose, those marginally attached to the workforce has stayed flat.

What you are looking at (and what I hope is not the ONLY thing you're willing to look at) is a tricky number - how many people want a job. That's all. There's a lot of reasons to not want a job. People with babies decide that its better to have a parent at home for a while. People give up job hunting and decide to go to college instead. Later, those people decide they want jobs again. What this number tells you is NOT that the job market has gotten harder for any certain segment over the last year. It tells you ONLY that there are more people job hunting now. That's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it would be extremely odd to see that number NOT go up in an economy recovering from a period of high unemployment, wouldn't it?
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