By: Ali Meyer
January 9, 2015
(CNSNews.com) – A record 92,898,000 Americans 16 and older did not participate in the labor force in December, as the labor force participation rate dropped once again to 62.7 percent, a level it has not seen in 36 years, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
December’s participation rate of 62.7 percent, a drop of 0.2 point from November, is the lowest since February 1978; it also matches the 62.7 percent seen in September 2014.
The participation rate is the percentage of the civilian noninstitutional population who participated in the labor force by either having a job or actively seeking one. Those not in the labor force are those who not only did not have a job, but they did not actively seek one in the last four weeks.
In addition to a 36-year low participation rate, a record 92,898,000 Americans did not participate in the labor force in December. That’s 456,000 more than the 92,442,000 Americans who did not participate in November.
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 December, the civilian noninstitutional population was 249,027,000 according to BLS. Of that 249,027,000, 156,129,000 — or 62.7 percent — participated in the labor force, meaning they either had or job or had actively sought one in the last four weeks.
Of the 156,129,000 who did participate in the labor force, 147,442,000 had a job and 8,688,000 did not have a job but actively sought one. Those 8,688,000 are the unemployed. They equaled 5.6 percent of the labor force—or an unemployment rate of 5.6 percent (which was down from the 5.8 percent unemployment rate in November).
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