(NaturalNews) The stock market appears to be doing better and some companies are hiring again. Meanwhile, home prices have risen somewhat, banks are beginning to lend again and the jobless rate is the lowest it has been in about five years.
Things are finally looking up - right?
Um, not so much.
On the outside, the U.S. economy appears to be recovering from dramatic lows just a few years ago, when the country was navigating through one of its worst financial crises in history. But before you pop the cork on the champagne bottle and celebrate, there are seven things you need to understand about the real state of the economy that don't bode well for our future, if they remain unchanged:
-- Nearly 92 million Americans have dropped completely out of the workforce, and no, it's not because an unusually large number of us are retiring. According to the Labor Department, the latest figures show that a record 91.8 million Americans are no longer in the labor force, which helps explain last month's .3-percent drop in the unemployment rate (it wasn't because hundreds of thousands of Americans found jobs). As reported by Breitbart News, "to be included in the Labor Department's calculations for this statistic, a person must be 16 years or older, a civilian, not in an institution (such as prison), and someone who has not looked for a job in the last four weeks."
Hit especially hard? Minorities. Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research noted in an interview with PBS that last month's seemingly rosy jobs report also saw "the lowest rate of labor force participation among African-American men since we have kept that count. So that was really striking."
--Since 2009, the year the "recovery" officially began, some 9.6 million people have entered the workforce. Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse Blog puts it in perspective:
The number of working age Americans that do not have a job has increased by nearly 10 million since Barack Obama first entered the White House. In January 2009, the number of "officially unemployed" workers plus the number of Americans "not in the labor force" was sitting at a grand total of 92.6 million. Today, that number has risen to 102.2 million. That means that the number of working age Americans that are not working has grown by close to 10 million since Barack Obama first took office.
--A record number of Americans - 47.4 million - now must rely on food stamps, in full or in part, in order to feed themselves. That's about one in every six Americans, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which manages the food stamp program. As you might imagine, as the number of food stamp recipients as risen, so has the cost of the program to taxpayers.
-- A record number of Americans are also receiving disability now. That figure has swollen to 10.98 million; what's more, a number of congressional studies have also revealed that disability programs are rife with waste, fraud and abuse [http://www.breitbart.com]. In fact, taxpayers are spending more on Disability than food stamps and welfare combined.
--Between 2009-2011, nearly one in three Americans lapsed into poverty. One in three. Does that sound like an economic recovery to you? That is a 4.5 percent increase over the 2005-2007 timeframe, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
More Americans don't think they are making economic headway. In fact, in a recent survey, 42 percent said they viewed themselves as worse off financially now than they were a year ago.
And finally, the level of U.S. debt continues to spiral upward, leaving our children and grandchildren saddled with the bill. As of this writing, the national debt stood at more than $17.3 trillion - and that doesn't even count all of the unfunded liabilities like Medicare, Social Security and now Obamacare. These are unsustainable programs, according to the Government Accountability Office.