90,473,000: Record Number Not in Labor Force--Up Almost 10M Under Obama

September 6, 2013 - 8:42 AM
President Barack Obama

President Barack Obama (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(CNSNews.com) - The number of Americans who are 16 years or older and who have decided not to participate in the nation's labor force has pushed past 90,000,000 for the first time, according to data released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The BLS counts a person as participating in the labor force if they are 16 years or older and either have a job or have actively sought a job in the last four weeks. A person is not participating in the labor force if they are 16 or older and have not sought a job in the last four weeks.

In July, according to BLS, 89,957,000 Americans did not participate in the labor force. In August, that climbed to 90,473,000--a one month increase of 516,000.

In January 2009, when President Barack Obama took office, there were 80,507,000 Americans not in the labor force. Thus, the number of Americans not in the labor force has increased by 9,966,000 during Obama's presidency.

Part of the increase in the number Americans not participating in the labor force can be explained by Baby Boomers reaching retirement age and deciding to stop working--and not be replaced by an equal number of younger people reaching age 16 and thus becoming part of the BLS labor force population.

However, it is also true that the overall percentage of the non-institutionalized population over the age of 16 that is working or seeking to work in the United States--which BLS calls the employment-population ratio--has declined significantly in recent years.

From July to August, it dropped from 58.7 percent to 58.6 percent. In January 2009, when President Barack Obama took office, it was 60.6 percent. It reached an historical peak in April 2000, when it was 64.7 percent.