160,213,000: Number of Americans in labor force hits record high

The number of Americans either working or looking for work in the past month hit a record high of 160,213,000, according to numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There were 12,000 more Americans who joined the labor force in April, while 162,000 left. The number of Americans not participating in the labor force increased from 94,213,000 in March to 94,375,000 in April. The bureau counts those not in the labor force as people who do not have a job and did not actively seek one in the past four weeks.

The labor force participation rate, which is the percentage of the population that has a job or actively looked for one in the past month, declined slightly from 63 percent in March to 62.9 percent in April.

In addition to more individuals joining the labor force this month, the number of unemployed individuals declined by 146,000 Americans, leading to a decline in the unemployment rate.

The unemployment rate for all Americans declined from 4.5 percent in March to 4.4 percent in April. The unemployment rate has not been this low since May of 2007, nearly a decade ago. This measure, however, does not account for those individuals who have dropped out of the labor force—it simply measures the percent of those who did not have a job but actively sought one over the month.

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