In February, a record high 92,898,000 Americans aged 16 and older did not participate in the labor force, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
From April 2014 through February, the labor force participation rate hovered between 62.9 percent and 62.7 percent. In 13 of the 17 months since October 2013, the participation rate has been 62.9 percent or lower.
That's the highest rate of Americans not participating in the labor force since March 1978, when it was the same rate as in February - 62.8 percent.
President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, when there were 80,529,000 Americans not participating in the workforce, meaning that 12,269,000 citizens have left the workforce since then. Since last month alone, the number of Americans out of the workforce increased by 354,000.
The BLS touts the official unemployment rate as falling from 5.7 percent in January to 5.5 percent in February, the lowest since Spring of 2008, which sounds good on the surface. Especially considering that the economy added 295,000 jobs last month.
But when other factors like the labor participation rate and the "marginally attached" are taken into account, a clearer picture emerges, and it's not quite as pretty.
As Gallup CEO Jim Clifton recently pointed out, the official unemployment numbers are "extremely misleading."
Those job hunters who became discouraged and did not look for work in the four weeks preceding the unemployment survey are not counted by the Department of Labor in the official unemployment numbers.
"There's another reason why the official rate is misleading," Clifton wrote in his op-ed. "Say you're an out-of-work engineer or healthcare worker or construction worker or retail manager: If you perform a minimum of one hour of work in a week and are paid at least $20 -- maybe someone pays you to mow their lawn -- you're not officially counted as unemployed in the much-reported 5.6%. Few Americans know this."
And those who are working part-time but want to work full-time - in other words, severely underemployed - are not counted as unemployed either.
The true unemployment rate is likely double the official number at any time, if not higher, notes Forbes.
The BLS says the aging of the baby boom generation is a key factor affecting the labor force participation rate.
"In 2000, baby boomers were aged 36 to 54 years and were in the group with the highest participation rates: the prime-aged group 25 to 54 years old," BLS wrote. "The participation rate for women in this group was 76.7 percent and for men was 91.6 percent, so that the overall participation rate of the group was 84.0 percent. The participation rate of the next-older age group, that 55 years and older, was 32.4 percent, so the difference between the two age groups was 52 percentage points."