Since 2008, the labor participation rate has fallen from a high of 67.3% in 2000 to 62.6% today. That 62.2% represents a 38-year low, which puts Bloomberg’s claim of a 42-year-low in joblessness in perspective. The jobless number is “low” only because more people are no longer considered to be participating in the workforce.
Some of the lowered participation is voluntary—an increase in students (some flocking to school to escape the job market) and baby boomer retirees. But some is due to the 2.1 million Americans considered the long-term unemployed (workers unemployed after 27 weeks of searching). This number is down from its height of six million in 2010, but in some states, more than 4 out of 10 unemployed workers are still considered long-term unemployed.