Participation Rate Matches 36-Year Low
A record 92,269,000 Americans 16 and older did not participate in the labor force in August, as the labor force participation rate matched a 36-year low of 62.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The labor force participation rate has been as low as 62.8 percent in six of the last twelve months, but prior to last October had not fallen that low since 1978.
BLS employment statistics are based on the civilian noninstitutional population, which consists of all people 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution such as a prison, mental hospital or nursing home.
In August, the civilian noninstitutional population was 248,229,000 according to BLS. Of that 248,229,000, 155,959,000—or 62.8 percent--participated in the labor force, meaning they either had or job or had actively sought one in the last four weeks.
The 92,269,000 who did not participate in the labor force are those in the civilian noninstitutional population who did not have a job and did not actively seek one in the last four weeks. Because they did not seek a job, they did not count as “unemployed.”
Of the 155,959,000 who did participate in the labor force, 146,368,000 had a job and 9,591,000 did not have a job but actively sought one. The 9,591,000 are the unemployed. They equaled 6.1 percent of the labor force—or an unemployment rate of 6.1 percent (which was down slightly from the 6.2 percent unemployment rate in July).
The 146,368,000 people employed in the United States in August was up 16,000 from the 146,352,000 who were employed in July.
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Livio S. Nespoli has been a broker, registered investment advisor, and financial publisher since 1985.