Labor Force Participation Rate Hits All-Time Low for Men

By Susan Jones | October 2, 2015 | 9:39 AM EDT


(AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The percentage of men participating in the U.S. civilian labor force hit record lows in September, the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

Last month, 71.3 percent of men 20 and older either held a job or actively sought one. The percentage was 68.7 for men 16 and older.

In January 1948, when BLS began keeping such records, 88.7 percent of men age 20 and over were participating in the nation's labor force. The following month, the participation rate for men in this group reached a record high of 89 percent. It wasn't until November 1975 that the participation rate for men 20 and older dropped below 80 percent for the first time.

When Barack Obama took office in January 2009, the participation rate for this group was 75.3 percent, and it has not reached that point again, drifting steadily downward to last month's 71.3 percent.

It's a similar story with men 16 and older. In 1948, the first year the BLS recorded such data, 86.7 percent of men 16 and over were participating in the nation's civilian workforce.

72.4 percent of them either had a job or were actively seeking one when President Obama took office in January 2009, and the number has not been that high again, drifting down to its current record low.

As the participation rate has declined over the years for men, it has gone up for women -- then down to lows not seen in 20-some years.

In January 1948, the first year BLS recorded such data, 32 percent of women 16 and older either held a job or were actively seeking one in the nation's civilian workforce.

The participation rate for women 16 and over reached a record high of 60.3 percent in April 2000. It was 59.4 percent when Obama took office. The highest it's been this year is 56.8 in both January and May.

As of last month, the participation rate for women 16 and over was 56.4 -- a 27-year low.

The numbers change slightly for women 20 and older: the participation rate for this group was 31.0 in January 1948, peaking at 61.0 percent in March 2001. It was only slightly lower when Obama took office in January 2009 (60.9), and it now stands at 57.9. It hasn't been this low in 24 years, since 1991.

 

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