95,385,000: Record Number Not in Labor Force; Participation Rate Falls to 62.7%

Susan Jones | November 3, 2017 | 8:43am EDT
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(Photo: Screen capture from Labor Department video)

(CNSNews.com) – The economy added 261,000 jobs in October – the most since President Trump took office -- and the nation’s unemployment rate dropped another tenth of a point to 4.1 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.

But a record number of Americans – 95,385,000 – were not in the labor force in October, and the critical labor force participation rate dropped four-tenths of a point to 62.7 percent, a disappointing show, as 76,500 Americans left the civilian labor force..

The previous "not in the labor force" record of 95,102,000 was set in December 2016, the final full month of the Barack Obama presidency.

And the labor force participation rate reached 38-year low of 62.4 percent in September 2015, near the end of Obama's second term. The participation rate has not improved much since then, although it had been trending up since May 2017.

In October, the nation’s civilian noninstitutionalized population, consisting of all people age 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 255,766,000. Of those, 160,381,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.

The 160,381,000 who participated in the labor force equaled 62.7 percent of the 255,766,000 civilian noninstitutionalized population.


Employment in food services and drinking places increased sharply in October, mostly offsetting a decline in September that largely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Job gains also occurred in professional and business services, manufacturing, and health care.

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult women (3.6 percent) and Whites (3.5 percent) declined in October. The jobless rates for adult men (3.8 percent), teenagers (13.7 percent), Blacks (7.5 percent), Asians (3.1 percent), and Hispanics (4.8 percent) showed little change.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says job gains have averaged 162,000 over the last 3 months.

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