The final jobs report for the Obama administration shows that Barack Obama's presidency began with a record number of Americans not participating in the labor force, and that is now ending with even higher numbers. Released today, the number of Americans not participating in the labor force jumped by 14,573,000 (18.09 percent) since January 2009, when he took office.
Last month the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that a record 95,102,000 Americans were not participating in the labor force, which is 47,000 more than in November, when the labor force participation rate was 62.7 percent, a tenth of a point higher than in November. During Obama’s presidency, the labor participation rate dropped to a 38-year low of 62.4 percent in September 2015. It was only 3-tenths of a point higher than that last month.
Those persons over the age of 16 who are not working or looking for work, for whatever reason (including retirement, school, personal preference, or gave up), are counted as non-participants.
In January 2009, when Obama was inaugurated, 80,529,000 Americans were not in the labor force. While that was the highest number ever recorded, the number rose steadily during his two terms, reaching a record 95,055,000 in November 2016. December saw another record: 95,102,000.
In an interview with a reported in Chicago, Obama said on January 5 that nevertheless he has "an enormous amount" to create greater economic opportunity. "I took an economy that was about to go into a Great Depression, and we've now had a little over six years of straight economic job growth, an unemployment rate that's down below 5 percent, and incomes that have gone up and poverty that has gone down."
During Obama’s eight years at the helm, the number of employed Americans reached an ebb: 138,013,000 in December 2009. Eight years later, in December 2017, 14,098,000 Americans have been added to the employment rolls.
The government collects payroll taxes from Americans who work, and some of that money is spent on government programs that support people who do not work. So the more who work, the better for the economy.