So now let's tabulate this group of "people who want a job now" but are not in the labor force. Using the links from the previous post, we can generate the following comparison of June 2003 and September 2004 (with the first 6 rows in thousands, and pardoning me for the poor formatting):
Labor Force 146,917 147,483
Employed 137,673 139,480
Unemployed 9,245 8,003
Not in Labor Force 74,097 76,458
Want a Job 4,687 4,850
Unemployment Rate 6.29% 5.43%
LF/(LF+NILF) 66.47% 65.86%
Emp/(LF+NILF) 62.29% 62.28%
Want/NILF 6.33% 6.34%
(Unemp+Want)/(LF+Want) 9.19% 8.44%
The first five rows are the raw data in thousands. The next five rows are the key ratios. The unemployment rate, labor force participation rate, and employment-population ratio are as discussed in the original post. The last two lines make use of the new category suggested by the BLS e-mail in the previous post. The share of those "Not in the Labor Force" who "Want a Job" is at about 6.33 percent in the two months. If we were to add this group to the labor force as unemployed, and then recompute the unemployment rate, we would see (in the last row) that it fell by 0.75 percentage points, from 9.19 to 8.44 percent of this augmented labor force.
With this measure, as with the other augmented measures of unemployment discussed in the original post, there is no empirical support for a proposition that the reduction in the unemployment rate (since its peak) is due to in any substantial way to a greater fraction of the potential labor force being involuntarily out of job.