The number of Americans not in the labor force exceeded 94 million for the second time in a row last month hitting a new record high, according to new government data released Friday morning.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that a record 94,610,000 people (ages 16 and over) were not in the labor force in September. In other words they were neither employed nor had made specific efforts to find work in the prior four weeks.
The number of individuals out of the work force last month — due to discouragement, retirement or otherwise — represented a substantial 579,000 person increase over the most recent record, hit in August, of 94,031,000 people out of the workforce.
While the prior two months saw a labor force participation rate of 62.2 percent, September’s participation rate dropped to 62.4 percent, matching the lowest level seen since October 1977.
The civilian labor force in September clocked in at 156,715,000, declining by 350,000 people, compared to August’s 157,065,000 labor force level.
In total 148,800,000 people were employed last month, 7,915,000 were unemployed, and 5,955,000 people were looking for a job.
Overall the Labor Department reported that the economy added 142,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in September and the unemployment rate remained at 5.1 percent.