[1/6/17] Barack Obama’s presidency began with a record number of Americans not in the labor force, and it’s ending the same way.
The final jobs report of the Obama presidency, released Friday, shows that the number of Americans not in the labor force has increased by 14,573,000 (18.09 percent) since January 2009, when Obama took office, continuing a long-term trend that began well before Obama was sworn in.
In December, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, a record 95,102,000 Americans were not in the labor force, 47,000 more than in November; and the labor force participation rate was 62.7 percent, a tenth of a point higher than in November.
The participation rate dropped to a 38-year low of 62.4 percent on Obama’s watch, in September 2015. It was only 3-tenths of a point higher than that last month.
People over age 16 who are no longer working or even looking for work, for whatever reason (retirement, school, personal preference, or gave up), are counted as not participating in the labor force.
When President Obama took office in January 2009, 80,529,000 Americans were not in the labor force, the highest number on record. That number rose steadily during his two terms, reaching a record 95,055,000 in November 2016, then setting another record (95,102,000) in December.
BLS said the December unemployment rate increased a tenth of a point to 4.7 percent, well below the Obama-era high of 10 percent. Last month, a record 152,111,000 Americans were counted as employed, up 63,000 from November; and the number of unemployed stood at 7,529,000, an increase of 120,000 from the prior month.
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