While the economy added 292,000 jobs last month, the number of Americans participating in the work force exceeded 94 million for the fifth month in a row, according to new government data released Friday.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 94,103,000 Americans were neither employed nor made any specific effort to find work in the prior four weeks.
The number of people out of the workforce — whether for retirement, sickness, schooling or otherwise — in December represented a slight decline of 277,000 compared to November’s non-participation level when 94,380,000 people were out of the workforce.
The labor force participation rate improved by 0.1 percent over November’s rate, however still remained at a low 62.6 percent, continuing the trend of low participation levels not seen since the seventies.
The civilian labor force also grew last month from 157,367,000 in November to 157,833,000 last month, or an increase of 466,300.
The unemployment rate stayed unchanged at 5 percent, with 7,904,00 people officially unemployed. Another 149,929,000 were employed.