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Many more people stopped looking for work last month than in February, a revelation that cast a pall over a recent string of month-to-month employment gains nationally and locally.
The question on the minds of many is whether this is just a blip or sign of something more disturbing for the months ahead.
People who are out of work are no longer counted as unemployed once they stop looking for a job, a major reason why the national unemployment rate dropped to 7.6 percent in March, the lowest in four years, from 7.7 percent a month earlier, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The unemployment rate for metro Atlanta is 8.3 percent.
Only 63 percent of Americans were working or looking for work last month, the lowest participation level in nearly 34 years. Economists say many of those who had been job hunting became so discouraged that they gave up the search. Others may have stopped looking because unemployment benefits had run out. The dropoff also reflects the recently retired.
Have you given up looking for work, or know someone who has? Do you think the dropouts will only grow?