93 million Americans not in the labor force

by Gregory Tomlin |

(REUTERS/Robert Galbraith)Financial consultant James Skilling talks with a job seeker during a job hiring event for marketing, sales and retail positions in San Francisco, California June 4, 2015.

YORK (Christian Examiner) – The fragile U.S. economy added 280,000 jobs in May according to figures released by the Labor Department June 4.

In spite of the increase, which beat the Labor Department's own estimate by 55,000 jobs, unemployment remained nearly constant at 5.5 percent. The 5.5 percent figure represents the number of unemployed who are still actively seeking jobs and who have not given up on finding full-time work for now.

In reality, the unemployment rate, adjusted to include workers marginally attached to the workforce and those looking for full-time work but only finding part-time, is 10.8 percent. That figure still suggests improvement, however, as it was 12.1 percent in the previous year at the same time.

Some ninety-three million Americans – 27.1 percent of the employment-eligible population – are not in the labor force, the Labor Department said. That figure represents the lowest labor force participation rate since the mid-point of the Carter administration in 1978.

The U.S. has added an average of 251,000 jobs each month, the Labor Department reported, but economic growth has been slow. The International Monetary Fund has slashed its growth expectations for the U.S. economy from 3.1 to 2.5 percent for 2015, citing the uncertainty of the Federal Reserve Bank's monetary policy.

The Federal Reserve is reportedly entertaining a hike in interest rates, which historically slows an economy but reduces the rate of inflation.