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The Incredible Shrinking Labor Force

Washington Post (05/04/12) Brad Plumer

Although job creation is weak, with just 115,000 jobs added to the economy in April, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate continues to decline, mainly because the labor force participation rate has decreased. The number of working-age Americans holding a job or looking for one dipped by 342,000 in March, and the unemployment rate followed suit because it looks only at workers actively seeking employment. But if the same percentage of adults were in the work force today as when president Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be over 11%.