Labor Secretary Dismisses Historical Drop in Labor Participation Rate

Secretary of Labor Tom Perez dismissed today's reported drop in the labor participation rate this morning on CNBC.

According to the Department of Labor the economy created 288,000 jobs in the month of April, but the labor participation rate dropped 0.4 percentage points back to a historical low of 62.8 percent.

Host David Faber put it to Perez directly, noting the labor participation rate drop is not due to people retiring given the participation rate for individuals 55 and older actually increased. "The civilian labor force dropped by 806,000 in April. The participation rate down by 0.4 percentage points, lowest it's been since 1978. I mean come on, what is going on here?" he asked.

Perez deflected, characterizing the rate drop as a mere fluctuation possibly due to seasonal workers not yet entering the labor market. Otherwise, the Labor Secretary touted the 288,000 job figure but offered no further explanation. "I'm going to be watching this number carefully next month," he said.