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Official unemployment rate falls in June, as 432,000 drop out of labor force

By Masao Suzuki

San José, CA – On July 2, the Labor Department released its report on the job market for June of 2015. The official unemployment rate fell to 5.3% in June from 5.5% in May, the lowest since the early months of the recession in April 2008. In addition, the payroll jobs report showed a gain of 223,000 in June. With unemployment down and job numbers up, the economic expansion continues.

But much of the drop in the unemployment rate came from 432,000 people leaving the labor force. By giving up looking for work, they are no longer counted by the official unemployment rate. Many of those who gave up on the job market came from the ranks of the long-term unemployed (out of work for six months or more) whose numbers fell by 381,000 in June.

The Labor Force Participation Rate, which measures the percentage of adults who are either working or looking for work, fell to 62.6% in June, the lowest rate since 1977, when more women were starting to join the job market. This number is another sign that the economic expansion is still weak, as a strong expansion would draw more people into the labor force.

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