The number of Americans not in the labor force grew by 169,000 in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest jobs report.
BLS labels people who are unemployed and no longer looking for work as “not in the labor force,” including people who have retired on schedule, taken early retirement, or simply given up looking for work. There were 89 million of them last month.
The number of people not in the labor force had declined in December to 88.8 million from 88.9 million in November.
The nation’s unemployment rate increased a tenth of a point in January, rising to 7.9 percent from 7.8 percent, a level the Labor Department described as “essentially unchanged.”
“Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 157,000 in January, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 7.9 percent,” the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning. It said jobs were added in retail trade, construction, health care, and wholesale trade.