According to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), over 93 million Americans, 16 years or older, did not participate in the nation’s labor force in 2015. The average labor force participation rate was 62.6 percent, reaching a historic 38 year low.
HOW MANY AMERICANS ARE NOT EMPLOYED
According to the BLS, 93,671,000 Americans were not in the labor force in 2015. These are individuals who did not have a job and did not actively seek one. There were 1,646,000 more individuals not in the labor force in 2015 than there was in the year prior.
The participation rate, the percent of the population who participated in the labor force by either having a job or actively seeking one, averaged at 62.6 percent in December 2015, which has not been this low since 1977, a span of 38 years.
AVERAGE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
The average unemployment rate in 2015 was 5.3 percent which declined from 2014’s average of 6.2 percent. This measure does not account for those individuals who have dropped out of the labor force. The unemployment rate simply measures the percent of those who did not have a job, but actively sought one over the month.
REAL UNEMPLOYMENT RATE
The real unemployment rate average for 2015, or the U-6 measure, was 10.4 percent, which dropped from the 12 percent it was in 2014. Some democrats such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen have said that this measure is more representative of the labor market because it accounts for discouraged workers and those working part time instead of full time for economic reasons.