What Is the Labor Force Participation Rate?

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The labor force participation rate is the percentage of working-age persons in an economy who:

  • Are employed
  • Are unemployed but looking for a job

Typically "working-age persons" is defined as people between the ages of 16-64. People in those age groups who are not counted as participating in the labor force are typically students, homemakers, non-civilians, institutionalized people, and persons under the age of 64 who are retired. In the United States the labor force participation rate is usually around 67-68%, but this figure is thought to have declined modestly in recent years.