(CNSNews.com) – The number of employed Americans increased 472,000 to 153,000,000 in March, setting a second straight monthly record; and the number of unemployed persons dropped by 326,000 to 7.2 million.
That brought the nation’s unemployment rate down two-tenths of a point to 4.5 percent.
The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics said the labor force participation rate remained flat at 63 percent in March; and the number of Americans not in the labor force increased slightly to 94,213,000, up 23,000 from February’s 94,190,000.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the economy added 98,000 jobs last month, which was well below the gains of 219,000 in February and 216,000 in January. Employment increased in professional and business services – and in mining – but retailers lost jobs.
The 94,213,000 million people counted as not participating in the labor force last month includes millions of baby boomer retirees, students, the disabled, homemakers and others who do not work for various reasons.
But -- as we have noted and will continue to note – this number is important because many of those not in the labor force receive Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance subsidies or other benefits/entitlements that depend on the taxes paid by those who do work.
In March, the nation’s civilian noninstitutionalized population, consisting of all people age 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 254,414,000. Of those, 160,201,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.
The 160,201,000 who participated in the labor force equaled 63 percent of the 254,414,000 civilian noninstitutionalized population.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (4.0 percent), whites (3.9 percent) and Hispanics (5.1 percent) declined in March.
The jobless rate for adult men (4.3 percent), blacks (8.0 percent) and Asians (3.3 percent) showed little or no change.
DNC says we should thank Obama, not Trump
The Democrat Party is giving Donald Trump no credit for the good news in Friday’s jobs report.
An hour before the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the March jobs numbers, the Democrat National Committee issued a news release saying, “Today, the U.S. economy is expected to continue the longest streak of private sector job growth on record, one of President Barack Obama’s most important accomplishments.
"We know Trump will try to take credit for President Obama’s hard work rescuing us from the Great Recession. But – to borrow a phrase from labor leader Chuck Jones – Trump is still “lyin’ his a** off” about his own jobs record.”
The DNC is offended that Trump, a successful job-creator himself, has taken credit for tens of thousands of jobs saved or created on his watch.
CBO projections of the labor force participation rate revised upwards
In a March 30, 2017 report, the Congressional Budget Office said it has “significantly raised” its projection of the labor force participation rate since last year.
In CBO’s latest projections, the rate of labor force participation—the share of the civilian noninstitutionalized population age 16 or older that is either working or seeking work—declines from 62.8 percent this year to 61.1 percent in 2027 (versus last year’s projection of 60.6) and to 59.3 percent in 2047 (versus 57.0 projected last year).
The upward revisions since last year result mainly from two factors -- education and the marriage rate. CBO now projects that increasing educational attainment will have a larger positive effect on participation than it estimated a year ago; and that the declining marriage rate will have a smaller negative effect.
According to CBO, the aging of the population is the most important factor driving down the overall participation rate over the next 30 years, because older people tend to participate in the labor force at lower rates than younger people.
(CBO noted that without the effects of an aging population—that is, if the age-and-sex composition of the population remained the same as it is expected to be in 2017—the labor force participation rate would stay roughly constant over the next 30 years.)
Aside from an aging population, CBO listed three other factors that push the participation rate down:
--First, members of younger generations, who are replacing baby boomers in the labor force, tend to participate in the labor force at lower rates than their predecessors did at the same age.
--Second, the share of people receiving disability insurance benefits is generally projected to continue to rise, and people who receive such benefits are less likely to participate.
--Third, the marriage rate is projected to continue to fall, especially among men, and unmarried men tend to participate in the labor force at lower rates than married men.
However, CBO said it expects those three factors to be “mostly offset” by three trends that are expected to increase participation.
-- First, the population is becoming more educated, and workers with more education tend to participate in the labor force at higher rates than do people with less education.
--Second, the racial and ethnic composition of the population is changing in ways that, on net, increase participation. CBO expects Hispanics (who make up an increasing share of the population) and non-Hispanic whites to participate at higher rates than the average.
-- Third, increasing longevity is expected to lead people to work longer.
The changes since last year result mainly from revised estimates of the effects of education and the marriage rate. CBO now projects that increasing educational attainment will have a larger positive effect on participation than it estimated a year ago and that the declining marriage rate will have a smaller negative effect. In addition, factoring in race and ethnicity increases the overall projected participation rate.
Projected Unemployment Rate
CBO projects that the unemployment rate will decline from 4.8 percent at the end of 2016 to 4.4 percent in 2018, gradually rise again to 5.0 percent by 2021, and then remain at that level, on average, through 2027.