A record 152,528,000 Americans were employed in February, 447,000 more than in January, and the labor force participation rate went up, the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday.
Sixty-three percent of Americans either held a job or actively looked for one in February, the highest participation rate in ten months.
The number Americans not in the labor force continued to drop, to 94,190,000 in February, 176,000 fewer than in January and well below the record of 95,102,000 set in December 2016.
And there’s more good news in the February jobs report, the first one to cover a full month of the Trump presidency:
According to BLS, the economy added 235,000 jobs last month and the February unemployment rate dropped a tenth of a point to 4.7 percent.
The 94,190,000 million people counted as not participating in the labor force in February includes millions of baby boomer retirees, students, the disabled, homemakers and others who do not work for various reasons.
But this number is important because many of those not in the labor force receive Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance subsidies and other entitlements that come partly from the taxes paid by those who do work.
In February, the nation’s civilian noninstitutionalized population, consisting of all people age 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 254,246,000. Of those, 160,056,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.
The 160,056,000 who participated in the labor force equaled 63 percent of the 254,246,000 civilian noninstitutionalized population.
(The participation rate dropped to a 38-year low of 62.4 percent on Obama’s watch, in September 2015.)
BLS says in February, among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate decreased for Whites to 4.1 percent, while the jobless rates for adult men (4.3 percent), adult women (4.3 percent), teenagers (15.0 percent), Blacks (8.1 percent), Asians (3.4 percent), and Hispanics (5.6 percent) showed little or no change.
The Labor Department says 5,597,000 people “currently want a job.”