A record 92,269,000 Americans 16 and older did not participate in the labor force in August, as the labor force participation rate matched a 36-year low of 62.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The labor force participation rate has been as low as 62.8 percent in six of the last twelve months, but prior to last October had not fallen that low since 1978.
BLS employment statistics are based on the civilian noninstitutional population, which consists of all people 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution such as a prison, mental hospital or nursing home.
In August, the civilian noninstitutional population was 248,229,000 according to BLS. Of that 248,229,000, 155,959,000—or 62.8 percent–participated in the labor force, meaning they either had or job or had actively sought one in the last four weeks.