The so-called underemployment rate, which counts people who have given up looking and people who are working part-time but want full-time jobs, did fall — to 15.6 percent from 16.2 percent.
But even with the recent gains, the economy isn’t close to replacing the jobs lost in the recession. Employers began shedding workers in February 2008 and cut nearly 8.7 million jobs for the next 25 months. The economy has regained about 2.5 million.
And most people aren’t getting raises. Average hourly pay slipped 2 cents last month to $23.18. In the past year, wages have risen 1.8 percent, but inflation has risen twice as fast, eroding buying power.
Figures lie, and liars figure. The jobless rate would really be great if everyone stopped looking. Just ask yourself: Am I better off than I was four years ago? Then keep on asking, right up until November 2012.