Essentially, a million more unemployed people were not officially counted as unemployed. That government-bureaucrat loophole has been the only thing keeping the unemployment rate under 10% the last several years. The LFPR in April was a modern-era worst, the lowest since 1978.
The argument has been made that the decline in the number of people in the workforce is due to Baby Boomers retiring. That's a valid argument, although incorrect. The storyline these days is that people are choosing (or being forced) to work until a later age because of financial difficulties and/or better senior health. But we have something a little more solid to go on than just common sense.
April's report showed that the number of people in the labor forced dropped by 806,000 from March to April, despite an increase in the population of 181,000. Erica Groshen, Commissioner of the BLS, said in her statement: "the April labor force decline was due mostly to fewer people entering the labor force than usual, rather than to more people exiting the labor force."
So much for the "baby boomers retiring" excuse.
Just to keep everyone reminded, here's the graphic proof of Obama's (and Congressional Democrats') handling of employment since he took office:
|LFPR since Obama took office in January 2009|