The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) September report shows over 94 million Americans are not in the labor force. The numbers released Friday show a workforce participation rate dropping by roughly 207,000 people.
The bureau counts those not in the labor force as people who do not have a job and did not actively seek one in the past four weeks.
Friday’s report also shows the economy added 156,000 jobs in September, but the number is below many analysts’ expectations of about 175,000. In addition, the unemployment rate for all Americans increased to 5.0 percent. However BLS’s unemployment rate doesn’t count people who have dropped out of the labor force or anyone not actively seeking a job.
The LA Times reports:
Last month’s figure was down from an upwardly revised 167,000 in August and came in below analyst expectations. In addition, the Labor Department report lowered its jobs total for July by 23,000.
The revisions mean that the average job growth this year has been about 178,000, well below last year’s pace of 229,000.
In an August 2016 update to the nation’s budget and economic outlook, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) attributes the “prevailing decline” in the labor force participation rate to “underlying demographic trends and, to a smaller degree, federal policies.”
When referencing federal policies that are effecting American’s ability to participate in the labor force the CBO cited Obamacare and America’s complicated tax code.
“In addition,” the CBO report states, “certain aspects of federal laws, including provisions of the Affordable Care Act and the structure of the tax code, will reduce participation in the labor force by reducing people’s incentive to work or seek work.”
“The high level of uncertainty among small business owners makes them reluctant to create new jobs and hire new employees,” said Juanita Duggan, president of the National Federation of Independent Businesses. “Small business is traditionally the engine of job growth.”
“Unfortunately for the economy, that engine isn’t revving,” she said. “This is a very weak recovery, and what little strength there is has been uneven.”
You can read the full report here.