The U.S. labor participation rate for October remained at its lowest point in 38 years, with only 62.4 percent of the civilian non-institutional population either holding a job or actively seeking one in the four weeks preceding the government's monthly survey, according to data released Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The last time the labor participation rate was this low was in October 1977.
The number of Americans 16 or older who were not in the labor force in October dropped slightly to 94,513,000, a slight improvement from the 94,610,000 who did not have a job or actively seek one in September within the four-week period, reported CNS News.
The unemployment rate also decreased, from 5.1 percent in September to 5.0 percent in October. This official unemployment number is somewhat misleading, as it does not account for individuals who have completely dropped out of the labor force. Rather, it only includes people who did not have a job but still actively looked for one during the month preceding the survey, noted The Washington Free Beacon.
Among major worker groups, the highest unemployment rates were for teenagers, with 15.9 percent unemployed. Blacks came next with 9.2 percent unemployed, followed by Hispanics, with 6.3 percent unemployed. Adult men were at 4.7 percent, adult women at 4.5 percent, and Asians at 3.5 percent.
The BLS said that the economy added 271,000 jobs in October, above the 185,000 jobs economists expected.
Women gained 158,000 jobs, with most in sectors relating to educational (55,000 jobs) and health services (50,000). Men's jobs increased by 113,000, meaning women's share of job growth was higher, at 58 percent, noted Fortune.
Citing the economy's good performance, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said there is a "live possibility" that officials could raise interest rates when the Fed meets in mid-December, a statement that pushed stock prices down even further, according to NPR.