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When It Costs Too Much to Work

When It Costs Too Much to Work

There are fewer discouraged people in the U.S. This time last year there were 780,000 of them, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Now there are only 697,000. This is good news. The way the bureau defines them, “discouraged” people haven’t looked for work in the last month because they don’t think a job is available to match their age, experience, or training.

The discouraged are only one part of a larger group—what economists call the “marginally attached.” These are people who have worked in the last year but not looked for work in the last month. The discouraged total slightly less than half of this larger group. The rest haven’t looked for work for other reasons. Small numbers of them are sick, have family to take care of, or have returned to school.