Lessons from a struggling economy

Gas prices continue to be relatively low, the housing market is finally recovering, and unemployment rates throughout the U.S. are falling. It's a good time to benefit from a recovering economy. But The Wall Street Journal suggests we hold our applause.

In an article published May 11, the newspaper says falling unemployment rates are not a true reflection of a recovering economy and uses the industrial city of Decatur, Ill., as an example.

Decatur's unemployment fell from 14 percent during the worst of the recession to 7 percent this past March, which many would assume means the city is beginning to get back to work. But as the paper says: "… The unemployment rate is falling fast in part because workers are disappearing: moving away, retiring or no longer looking for a job."

The paper goes on to say that in the 20 areas where unemployment fell at least 2.7 percentage points during the past year, 16 of those metropolitan areas saw their workforces decrease. Between 2010 and 2014, Decatur experienced one of the sharpest population declines by losing 3.2 percent of its residents, according to the Census Bureau.