The U.S. Census Bureau has announced that the unemployment rate for December 2011 was at 8.5 percent, down from 8.7 percent the previous month. Some pundits have suggested that unemployment is not truly down, but rather that the unemployed—especially those near retirement age—have simply given up looking for a job.
A closer look at other relevant statistics suggests that unemployment is truly falling. Mass layoffs are down from the highs seen in 2008 and 2009, and coming closer to numbers last seen in 2007. Unemployment numbers for month-over-month job growth were positive throughout 2011, a big improvement from 2010.
Workforce Management, January 2012, p. 12-13