The American Enterprise Institute's James Pethokoukis posts an updated version of the Obama jobs chart [3]. Note the green dot — what the unemployment rate would be like without the early retirements and other people who, in one way or another, have decided to stop looking for jobs altogether.

Of course a stimulus fan would say that this simply proves that the recession was deeper than was initially believed. That's circular logic, but is surprisingly (or unsurprisingly) popular among the upper levels of the Obama Administration. Another interpretation would be that the stimulus made things worse, as I mentioned this morning [4]. The third possibility, compatible with either of the other two, is that this sort of prediction is inherently bogus. Maybe we can't predict the future — and should stop acting like we can.