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August Jobs Report: Labor Force Shrinks



The U.S. economy added 169,000 jobs in August – below projections but enough to drop the nation’s official unemployment rate from 7.4 to 7.3 percent. That’s the “good news.” The bad news? The nation’s labor participation rate slipped form 63.4 to 63.2 percent – its lowest level since August of 1978.

More than half a million Americans exited the labor force last month – bringing the total number of Americans outside of the national workforce to an all-time high of 90.5 million.

Thanks to the shrinking labor force America’s real unemployment rate actually went up in August, according to the website Zero Hedge.

“For the past three years we have compiled data looking at the U.S. unemployment rate assuming a realistic labor force participation rate,” the website notes. “We can report that as a result of the latest monthly collapse in the labor force … the actual implied unemployment rate just rose from 11.2 percent to 11.4 percent.”

The official government figures were released a day after Gallup pollsters pegged the unemployment rate at 8.6 percent.

In South Carolina the unemployment rate in July was 8.1 percent, while in June our labor participation rate ticked down to 58.7 percent.