33% of Americans Out Of Workforce, Highest Since 1978


In February 2015, the number of Americans aged 16 and older not participating in the labor force hit 92,898,000, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The BLS data revealed that over the longer trend, the labor force participation rate was between 62.9 percent and 62.7 percent from April 2014 through February, and has been hovering around 62.9 percent or lower in 13 of the 17 months since October 2013.

To see the bigger picture,  when Obama became the President in January 2009, there were 80,529,000 Americans who were not participating in the workforce. Now there are 92,898,000 who aren’t working …which means that 12,369,000 US citizens have left the workforce since then.


The number of Americans out of the workforce shot up by 354,000 last month. A labor participation rate below 63 percent was last seen 37 years ago, in March 1978, when it was 62.8 percent.

In February, the civilian non-institutional population – consisting of all citizens 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution – was 249,899,000.  157,002,000 (62.8 percent of the population) of those participated in the labor force by either having a job or actively searching for one, according to BLS data.

The registered participation rate reached its lowest level since February 1978 (62.7 percent) in September and December of 2014, and was entirely blamed on the aging baby boomer population.

The data points to the aging baby boom generation – those born in the post-war years between 1946 and 1964, as a primary reason for the significant drop.[1]

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“In 2000, baby boomers were aged 36 to 54 years and were in the group with the highest participation rates: the prime-aged group 25 to 54 years old. The participation rate for women in this group was 76.7 percent and for men was 91.6 percent, so that the overall participation rate of the group was 84.0 percent.” said the report.

However, not all was bad apparently, because the economy created 295,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.5 percent, down from 5.7 percent in January. As expected, the White House used this show how effective their administration was, while disregarding the plunging participation numbers; as 354,000 leave the workforce and 295,000 find a job…. The administration seems unable to tell which number is bigger. Jason Furman, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said:

“With another strong employment report, we have now seen 12 straight months of private-sector job gains above 200,000—the first time that has happened since 1977,”

Criticizing the Obama government and the unsatisfactory economic results, the Republican House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement, “Simply put, most Americans aren’t seeing the positive economic news translate into improvements in their daily lives,”


[1] http://rt.com/usa/238697-americans-labor-jobs-report/

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  1. I suppose it depends on what camp (the good job, the forced menial or low paid) or what each individual feels about not participating in ‘paid employment’. For some folk retirement couldn’t come sooner enough (in New Zealand we have superannuation when a person hits 65yrs some will take others will keep working full or part-time which is more dignified as it gives the older person choice than forcing them to have to uptake not secure poorly paid full time jobs) because of health as they can no long take hard physical toil/or maybe the bullying in the work place, or their job was viewed more as a means to survived thus menial (therefore ‘just doing my time’) that they can be freed up to spend time with family, hobbies, freedom to tend to a garden, or go for a walk … etc. By golly there is got to be more to life than to keep working in a paid job unless it happens to be a really good one which I presume for many just isn’t the case for what ever the reason. As far as the good jobs my mother use to say there’s got to be a few Indians amongst the chiefs.


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