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91 million Americans aren't looking for jobs

February 10, 2014: 2:20 PM ET

The unemployment rate isn't always the best measure of the job market, because it only includes people who have actively searched for work within the last four weeks. Many Americans just aren't looking for jobs.

In fact, about 91 million adult Americans don't work, and aren't looking for jobs. They make up 37% of the population -- the highest level on record since 1978.

Yes, some of them are workers who've been out of a job for so long that they've given up entirely.

But don't be too alarmed: In addition to discouraged workers, this group also includes people who are retired, enrolled in high school or college, and staying at home to take care of young children or elderly relatives.

Here is a complete view of the U.S. working-age population, including everyone over age 16.


Full-time workers still make up the biggest part of the population. About 48% of working-age Americans have full-time jobs, and another 11% work part-time.

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About This Author
Annalyn Censky
Annalyn Kurtz
Writer, CNNMoney

Annalyn Kurtz is a senior writer at CNNMoney, where she covers America's jobs crisis, Federal Reserve policy and other economic news. Before joining the site in 2010, she served as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar in Prague and interned at Fortune Small Business magazine. @annalynkurtz

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