Labor Force Participation Rate Remains at 38-Year Low

94,513,000 Americans not in labor force in October

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The percentage of Americans who participated in the nation’s labor force in October remained at a 38-year low, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The participation rate, the percent of the population who participated in the labor force by either having a job or actively seeking one in the past four weeks, remained steady at 62.4 percent in October. This metric has not been this low since October 1977—a span of 38 years.

There were 94,513,000 Americans 16 or older who did not participate in the labor force in October, which dropped from the 94,610,000 Americans who didn’t participate in September. These are individuals who did not have a job and did not actively seek one in the past four weeks.

The unemployment dropped from 5.1 percent in September to 5.0 percent in October. This measure does not account for those individuals who have dropped out of the labor force. The unemployment rate measures the percentage of those who did not have a job but actively sought one over the month.

The number of unemployed individuals dropped by 7,000 in October and the number of employed individuals grew by 320,000.