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Labor Participation Rate Remains At 37 Year Low As 94.5 Million Remains Outside The Labor Force

In another sign that the labor market slack, at least from the Fed's perspective, is now reaching a peak, the Household survey reported that while the civilian labor force rose by over 300K in October, the number of people not in the labor force actually declined by 97K to 94.5MM (as those employed rose by 320K), following a surge of over half a million in September. Despite this headline improvement, however, the participation rate remained at 62.4%, same as the prior month, and at a level last seen in 1977.

 

Elsewhere, the civilian employment to population ratio also remained rather downbeat at 59.3%, a modest increase from last month's 59.2% and virtually unchanged from the 59.2% also reported one year ago.

 

Finally, while there are many explanations why the participation rate remains so low (and continues to decline) most notably from the Fed who said that people "just don't want a job", the reality is that 94.5 million Americans either no longer have an interest or desire to look for a job.