While the unemployment rate dropped and the economy added another 178,000 jobs, the number of Americans out of the labor force hit a record high last month.
According to the Labor Department, 95,055,000 Americans were out of workforce in November, meaning they were neither employed nor had made an effort to find work over the previous month.
The level of Americans outside of the workforce last month — due to retirement, education, discouragement, or otherwise — represented a substantial 446,000 increase over the month of October.
The Labor Department added that in November there were 1.9 million Americans marginally attached to the labor force or people who looked for work at some point in the last 12 months but were not in the labor force. Among the marginally attached were 591,000 discouraged workers or those who are not looking for a job because they do not think there is a job out there for them.
In recent years relatively high numbers of Americans have been dropping out of the workforce. When President Barack Obama took office, 80,529,000 Americans were out of the workforce. That number has since grown by 14,526,000.
The workforce participation rate also dipped in November, hitting 62.7 percent, hovering around levels not seen since the 1970s.
Meanwhile the economy by other metrics appeared healthy. The number of Americans with a job grew to 152,085,000 — a record according to CNS News — and the unemployment rate dropped by 0.3 percentage point to 4.6 percent. Additionally the number of unemployed persons declined by 387,000 to 7,400,000.