The number of Americans age 16 or older who decided not to work or even to seek a job increased by 8,332,000 to a record 88,839,000 in President Barack Obama’s first term, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
At the same time, the number of retired workers collecting Social Security increased by only 4,234,480.
The increase in Americans opting out of the labor force during Obama’s first term resulted in a decrease in the labor force participation rate from 65.7 percent in January 2009, the month Obama was first inaugurated, to 63.6 percent in December 2012, the latest month reported. Before Obama took office, the labor force participation rate had not been as low as 63.6 percent since 1981, the year President Ronald Reagan took over from President Jimmy Carter.
To be in the labor force a person must either have a job or actively sought one in the previous four weeks.
When Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, there were 80,507,000 American civilians age 16 or older who did not have a job or seek one. In December 2012, there were 88,839,000—thus, the increase of 8,332,000.
Also, in January 2009, there were 32,484,808 retired workers collecting Social Security benefits, according to the Social Security Administration. By December 2012 that had risen to 36,719,288, and increase of 4,234,480.
The increase in the number of Americans not participating in the labor force during Obama’s presidency outstripped the increase in the retired workers collecting Social Security by 4,097,520 persons.
In the comparable period of George W. Bush’s second term, the number of Americans choosing not to participate in the labor force went from 76,808,000 in January 2005 to 80,380,000 in December 2012—an increase of 3,572,000. READ MORE