The last time that we had fewer people in the Catawba County workforce was in September of 1992, when we had 73,033 in the local workforce. And remember in February 2001 that we had 82,245 in the workforce. We have lost over 11% of our workforce in the last 12 years (82,245-73081/82,245).
Link to the data: http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/NCCATA5LFN?cid=29272
The media is looking at U-3 numbers and telling you that Unemployment fell to 10.1% from 10.8% the previous month. 3/10 of a percent of that number is explained by people dropping out of the Labor Force and I believe that the rest of that reduction comes from the arbitrary "Seasonal Adjustments." The U-3 numbers may even fall below 10% in the near future, but until one looks at the reality of the U-6 numbers and the ever shrinking workforce numbers, then one will not grasp the true nature of the local employment picture -- it is at best stuck in a rut. Since July 2008, the local Catawba County workforce has shrunk by nearly 5,000 people (77,976 - 73,081= 4,895) and the trend shows that number growing substantially for the foreseeable future.
U-3 Unemployment numbers in Catawba County:
These are the real numbers as they should be presented and represented. And please as always!