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Unemployment down, but job force falls with it

Posted on February 7th, 2012 Read time: 1 minutes

The economy is seemingly improving, as the latest figures from the U.S. Labor Department indicate that the nation's unemployment rate dipped from 8.5 percent in December to 8.3 percent in January, Forbes reports. Furthermore, 243,000 jobs were added last month. Good, right?

Not so fast. The number of unemployed might be declining, but only because the  number of people in the labor force is shrinking. More than 400,000 people became ineligible to work last month, reducing the total number of workers to just 63.7 percent. Approximately 2.6 million more people are out of the labor force compared to one year ago.

One staffing service in Evansville, Indiana, finds the lack of effort people are making to return to the labor force "frustrating," Tristate Homepage reports. At least 10 people per day turn down a job found by the agency – whether it be a full-time, part-time or temporary worker position – in favor of using up the remainder of their unemployment benefits.

"I think that's wrong," employee David Jones told the media outlet. "To be honest with you, my belief is, if you got two hands, two feet, my belief is get … out there and start working."

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