Record 89,304,000 Americans 'Not in Labor Force' -- 296,000 Fewer Employed Since January

By Elizabeth Harrington | March 8, 2013 | 8:10am EST

Job seekers wait to register for a national career fair in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

(CNSNews.com) - The number of Americans designated as "not in the labor force" in February was 89,304,000, a record high, up from 89,008,000 in January, according to the Department of Labor. This means that the number of Americans not in the labor force increased 296,000 between January and February.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (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.

The increase marks the second month in a row, after rising in January from 88.8 million in December.  Those not in the labor force had declined in December from 88.9 million in November. 

The nation's unemployment rate decreased to 7.7 percent in February, down from 7.9 percent in January.  Overall unemployment “has shown little movement, on net, since September 2012,” the Labor Department said.

Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 236,000 in February, according to the report.

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