Americans’ Participation in Labor Force Hits 35-Year Low

Americans’ Participation in Labor Force Hits 35-Year Low

The percentage of American civilians 16 or older who have a job or are actively seeking one dropped to a 35-year low in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In September, the labor force participation rate was 63.2 percent, but in October it dropped to 62.8 percent—the lowest it has been since February 1978, when Jimmy Carter was president.

The labor force, according to BLS, is that part of the civilian noninstitutional population that either has a job or has actively sought one in the last four weeks. The civilian noninstitutional population consists of people 16 or older, who are not on active-duty in the military or in an institution.

At no time during the presidencies of Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton or George W. Bush, did such a small percentage of the civilian non-institutional population either hold a job or at least actively seek one.

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