Remember those 3 million long-term unemployed that aren't getting benefits anymore because Congress decided that they needed to get off their lazy duffs and 'git a job'?
Well, a funny thing happened somewhere between kicking these people to the curb last December and them pulling themselves up by their bootstraps.
It's almost as if the Republican idea of how unemployment works is different from reality.
The number of people not in the labor force, but who wanted a job now, went from 4,352,000 in October 2007 to 6,915,000 by November 2012.
Then the number dropped to 5,779,000 by November 2013. This coincided with a significant drop in the overall unemployment rate.
Then last December the Republicans decided that it was time to get tough on these lazy bums.
Funny thing is that those lazy bums, instead of getting jobs, have been dropping out of the workforce.
In just 6 months, the number of people not in the workforce but want to work, has climbed to 6,438,000, an increase of 659,000. Despite the unemployment rate dropping from 6.7% to 6.3%.
It makes one wonder if the problem isn't laziness as much as the stigma of being unemployed so long.
Only one in 10 long-term people who have been unemployed for six months or more are hired every year, according to a Princeton study that affirms the bleak outlook for many long-term job seekers.The good news is that the long-term unemployed are not tracked, and "are having no effect on the labor market".
With the unemployment rate near five-year lows amid a post-recession recovery, the long-term unemployed are still struggling to find jobs. Even in regions with the strongest job markets, the rate of hiring for the long-term jobless is no better.
So it's OK to ignore them.
So, what will happen to all those workers? There's a real possibility they will just drop out of the labor force entirely.
That's the conclusion of a new research note from JP Morgan chief economist Michael Feroli, who argues that many of those 1.3 million workers may simply give up looking for jobs once their benefits lapse. That, in turn, could reduce the "official" U.S. unemployment rate by between 0.25 and 0.5 percentage points.
Doing some quick numbers from my calculator, if you added 659,000 people to the unemployment + labor force, you get a 6.69% unemployment rate.
Thus all the drop in unemployment since December is due entirely to people leaving the workforce that still want a job.