See Sturdy U.S. employment report a green light for December rate hike.
One weakness of the unemployment rate is that if people drop out of the
labor force they cannot be counted as an unemployed person and the
unemployment rate goes down. They are no longer actively seeking work
and it might be because they are discouraged workers.
We could look at the employment to population ratio. But that includes
everyone over 16 and that means that senior citizens are in the group
but many of them have retired. The more that retire, the lower this
ratio would be and that might be misleading.
But we have this ratio for people age 25-54 (which also eliminates college age people who might not be looking for work). Click here to see this data from the BLS.
The percentage of 25 to 54 year olds employed went from 77.2% to 77.4% in Nov. It was 79.7% in Dec. 2007, month recession started. So there might still some catching up to do.