Business Insider has provided an interesting chart showing the increased numbers of Americans who are out of the labor force altogether.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,
About 2.3 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in November, an increase of 376,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not sea- sonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
These Americans are not included in unemployment estimates since, as the BLS said, “they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.” This growing number means one of two things depending on the strength of the economy:
1) It could mean that these people looked for employment for so long without success that they eventually gave up.
2) Those who are employed earn enough to support themselves and others. In other words, senior citizens and young people may not have to work because they can find support from others. The same is true for married couples where one spouse can work and support the household. This results in more people excluded from the labor force.
Under the current economy, I would sadly say that we are facing the first scenario.