The percentage of American civilians 16 or older who do not have a job and are not actively seeking one remained at a 36-year high in May, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
In December, April, and now May, the labor force participation rate has been 62.8 percent. That means that 37.2 percent were not participating in the labor force during those months.
Before December, the last time the labor force participation rate sunk as low as 62.8 percent was February 1978, when it was also 62.8 percent. At that time, Jimmy Carter was president.
In April, the number of those not in the labor force hit a record high of 92,018,000. In May, that number declined by 9,000 to 92,009,000. Yet, the participation rate remained the same from April to May at 62.8 percent.
The labor force, according to BLS, is that part of the civilian noninstitutional population that either has a job or has actively sought one in the last four weeks. The civilian noninstitutional population consists of people 16 or older, who are not on active duty in the military or in an institution such as a prison, nursing home, or mental hospital.
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