324,000 Women Dropped Out of Labor Force in Last Two Months--As Number of Women Not in Labor Force Hits Historic High
by TERRANCE JEFFREY
May 10, 2012
324,000 women dropped out of the nation's civilian labor force in March and April as the number of women not in the labor force hit an all-time historical high of 53,321,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The civilian labor force consists of all people in the United States 16 years or older who are not in the military, a prison, or another institution such as a nursing home or mental hospital and who either have a job or are unemployed but have actively sought work in the previous four weeks and are currently available to work.
The civilian labor force is a subset of what BLS calls the civilian noninstitutional population, which includes all people in the country 16 or older who are not in the military, a prison, or another institution such as a nursing home or mental hospital.
This year (in both January and April), only 57.6 percent of the women in the civilian noninstitutional population were in the labor force. That is the lowest rate of labor force participation by American women since April 1993, according to historical data maintained by BLS.
The rate of female participation in the civilian workforce peaked twelve years ago--in April 2000--when hit 60.3 percent.
In February, according to BLS's seasonally adjusted data, 52,833,000 American women were not in the labor force. In March that climbed to 53,090,000-a one-month increase of 257,000. In April, it climbed again to the historical high of 53,321,000-a one-month increase of 231,000 from March and a two-month increase of 488,000 from February.
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