Unemployment drops sharply, but news isn't all good

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - New unemployment numbers show the rate fell last month to its lowest level in more than two and a half years.

Employers added over 120,000 jobs last month, but it may not be all good news.

Labor force participation fell significantly...by 315,000 people...so as far as we know, there are a lot less people looking for work.

But it's very hard to pinpoint why they've stopped looking.

It could be that thousands are simply giving up - retiring short and early. And certainly some people's unemployment benefits have simply timed out, and so the Fed has stopped tracking them. But polls show there are also a large percentage of people who've started working for themselves - it's just very hard to pinpoint that labor participation portion of the picture.

We talked to Wells Fargo economist Mark Vitner today about what looks like a pretty complicated picture.

"It was better than expected," Vitner says. "But it wasn't hunky dory. A four tenths percent drop in the unemployment rate is really eye popping but it wasn't as good as it looks on the surface when you look at all the details."