sounds like a shocking statistic: 92 million Americans don’t work but also aren’t considered unemployed by the Labor Department.
The Labor Department only classifies people as unemployed if they are actively looking for work. All those who don’t have a job and aren’t looking are lumped together under the fishy-sounding classification “not in the labor force.” The share of Americans not in the labor force has been climbing for nearly 15 years, a development that even many economists and demographers failed to anticipate.
It may sound like a giant mystery: What are these 92 million Americans doing? Actually, we do have some idea.