Meanwhile, the employment rate got better — decreasing from 9.9% in April to 9.7% in May. What does that mean? It means people are giving up. Those workers aren't disappearing — they're discouraged, and once you've stopped actually looking for work, the government stops counting you as wanting to be employed. If you don't want to be employed, you're not "unemployed." Combine that with the actual underemployment rate of 16% — people who have a job but want to work more hours — and we've got a serious number of people who can't bring home the bacon.