People Not In Labor Force Soar By 522,000, Labor Force Participation Rate Lowest Since 1981

Tyler Durden's picture

it is just getting sad now. In April the number of people not in the labor force rose by a whopping 522,000 from 87,897,000 to
88,419,000.  This is the highest on record. The flip side, and the reason why the unemployment dropped to 8.1% is that the labor force participation rate just dipped to a new 30 year low of 64.3%.

Labor force participation Rate:

People not in labor force:

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Harlequin001's picture

You're not going to like this buy I'm referring to the free money the Fed prints to keep the system rolling.

But I'm sure you've worked that out already...

Lil Ms.Homesteader's picture

Is it different money? I don't think so, it's the same whether you collect it through unemployment, disability, food stamps, etc. It's all the same and it's all BS. It's enslavement to a dying system, regardless of the methods one utilizes.

Gully Foyle's picture

Lil Ms.Homesteader

My theory is property needs to pay for itself.

Supplying enough food for a family allows that money saved to be channeled back into property tax and utilities and whatevers.

Obviously the more profit which can come from the land, the greater it pays for itself.

I envision the perfect property as a mix of fields and forest. Forest gives back timber for the woodstove, and the fields can be rented for farming/haying/grazing.

I talked to a local guy who rents to farm potatoes. Previoulsy he had been a diary farmer and lost the farm.

He also welds on the side.

I've seen some farms where the house is rented, the fields are rented and the barns are rented. Three streams of income.

It's the difference from seeing the value in the house vs the value of the land.

The only down side is many farmers never maintain upkeep on their homes.

crawldaddy's picture

from a tax assessing perspective, Land value can and often is of more value than any structure, especially when speaking of farmland.  The land is where the value is. Housing may be tanking, good farm land will continue to appreciate however.

Silver Bug's picture

The amount of underemployed is absolutely staggering.


Charms and Beads

Lil Ms.Homesteader's picture

Gully, I get it and I agree that there are many options. Fortunately, I live in a house that's paid for (other than the ransom for property taxes), and my lover still has his job as a tool & die guy. We have about 20 acres with woods and our own water supply, where we raise chickens and plant several gardens. We've downsized our life-got rid of cable, cell phones, going out to Chilis or Applebees or Starbucks. I bake bread, make soap, shampoos, garden, clean chicken coops, grow potatos, fish, fix the plumbing, etc. Every situation is unique, different, and ours is probably more homesteading than actual farming.

Cathartes Aura's picture

Gully, if you're in a position to "buy" land, you might consider letting others work it for you, as in, let a few trusted, vetted people with the desire and energy to grow food, build greenhouses, tend chickens and goats, etc. - if you lived on the land or nearby, you'd have your necessities provided for, and you'd be giving others the opportunity to realise their goals as well. . .

think of it as a form of "share-cropping" - there are plenty of people out there who would love the chance to work land, but are seeing the chance of acquisition recede in this current economy - think outside the box time!


11b40's picture

There are untold numbers of us trying to recover from the shocks of the past 4 years, which in truth started several decades ago.

I could have walked away in 2008 at 60 and retired with enough to live moderately well the rest of my days.  Instead, I plowed a lifetime of savings back into re-building my 30 year old business.  After all, I had been through many ups & downs over the years, even flirting with bankruptcy twice in the early days.  2008 was a temporary set-back, right?  When things actually got worse in 2009, and I had to get serious about cutting overhead, I figured that surely 2010 would see a positive bounce.  No such luck....and it is often not so quick and easy to cut overhead as you might think.  Little things like leases tend to get in the way, and virtually all actions seem to come with an expense factor attached.

But what do you do when you are in your 60's, with no desire to slow down, in good health, and few interests outside of work?  Start a new career?  Yeah, right.

I hit the bottom sometime in late 2010, and 2011 was the year the trend line changed.  I can't even begin to describe the amount of change and hustle we have been through.  2012 is far better than 2011 far, but my outlook is totally different.  I will never take on the risk, and the expense of the past again, and I know numerous small business owners who feel the same way. 

Work harder, smarter, faster,'s the only hope, but even then, the odds are stacked against the little guy who wants to be independent.  What was never easy is now increasingly becoming impossible, and I feel very sad for the generations behind me.  I know there are still many young people who feel the way that I did in my youth, with that burning desire to run their own show.  After all, if you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.  Unfortunately, the costs and barriers to entrance are crushing vast numbers of would-be entrepreneurs.  The lucky ones who do break through too often find their market invaded, or concept co-opted, by big, powerful predatory competitors.  Of course, this has always been the nature of competition, but things are increasingly different today.  I have no doubt that we are experiencing creeping Fascism.

Independent Contractor


Omen IV's picture

you are on the front end of a game that will go on for ten years more - the classic republican small business man who thought his politics were based on the -  bottom line - that is the focus on the impact of lower taxes and regulations with NO consideration given to the TOP line - sales  - and how they really occur  - which is the availability and level of discretionary income of the middle and upper class will now mow them all down - its volume not costs that are the problem

the WTO & GATT is that sucking sound and now a new law is reversing an exemption for us government contract fufillment and "opening it up" to foreign sources is a game of death  - demand destruction is accelerating - the labor force participation once it gets to close to 59% and BOTH people in a family are exposed to part time work only  -then  no one is buying anything  - too much uncertainty -


J 457's picture

Spastica.  Are you saying you're now out of work after 23 years?

Spastica Rex's picture

No, I started my "career" at 23. I've been out of steady work for two years.

edit: So yeah, my math is a little wrong. 

edit2: Maybe that's part of why I'm out of a job.

Gully Foyle's picture

Spastica Rex

"edit: So yeah, my math is a little wrong.

edit2: Maybe that's part of why I'm out of a job."

FBI Forensic scientist was it?

Spastica Rex's picture

I thought that was really funny.

Killtruck's picture

Chins up, kiddies. Carry on up the Khyber. You're the tip of the spear in this mess, and soon everyone will be joining you in trying to figure out the future.

Remember that Darwin did not endorse the "strongest survives". He said that the most adaptable survives.


kridkrid's picture

What did you do... are you looking to do?

Spastica Rex's picture

I was a teacher, a technology coordinator, a principal, and a state education bureaucrat. I quit my last assignment in disgust; public education is a scam, and my last job was essentially to defraud local school districts out money. There is a definite protection racket component to corporate/government education "reform" efforts. I decided to go back to the classroom - I'm a good teacher - but I have too much experience so I'm too high on the salary schedule to be hired. Probably for the best. I'm currently trying to get a teaching job at any of the local Catholic schools. I've managed to do some consulting over the last two years, but I really hate working with public ed people. Sad. It wasn't always like this.

crawldaddy's picture

I would think people need to have various versions of a resume.  One size fits all is no good anymore.

kridkrid's picture

It's only going to get worse, I'm afraid.  Existence in the inflating bubble hid or even exacerbated structural problems of public education.  Even if one were to recognize the problems, having to address them in our pending deflationary bubble will be nearly impossible.  

Very sad, indeed.

oddjob's picture

Is that 88 million non workers?...Don't forget to include all Goverment employees, all armed forces and all those on Social make that closer to 188 million non-workers.

sof_hannibal's picture

Riots in the Streets and civilians getting thrown in private gulag US prisons for 10yrs. For stealing a loaf of bread... but oncr we lock there dumb poor people up, they won't count as either unemployed, jobless, or non participant(s). Insert sarc.

narnia's picture

The chart doesn't include 26 million worthless government employees or the millions of others employed in government compliance or support roles or other worthless sectors like finance. They still count as employed.

70%+ of the population does nothing productive at all.

hedgeless_horseman's picture



To a great extent, this chart is indicative of the "success" of the Healthcare Reform Act, having the sole mission of eliminating any vestiges of employees' expectations of employers providing health insurance.

Many businesses have already moved to independent contractors, fewer than 50 employees, or Obama McWaivers.

American business and government felt they had to do something about rising healthcare costs to stay competitive globally.  That something turned out to be transferring the cost to the people, through a combination of mandates, higher deductibles, higher co-insurance, and layoffs for those on rich grandfathered plans.

My advice is to do everything one can to stay healthy and stay away from the medical system.  Of course, this advive is in alignment with, and an outcome of, TPTB's intentions all along of reducing unnecessary health expenses, but I am certainly good with that on all fronts.

orangedrinkandchips's picture


Biggest fucking joke.


water=health care costs....


Much like the power of Water.....which WILL FIND A WAY AROUND ANYTHING AND IS THE MOST PERSISTENT THING ON will find a way into your baseement, your boat, etc.


Health care costs too....SO OBAMA tries to pin down these crooks....SO WHAT THEY FIND A WAY AROUND IT....



hedgeless_horseman's picture



...OBAMA tries to pin down these crooks..

Obama works for the health insurers and big business.  So does Romney.  All politicians do.  Look at their actions, do not listen to their words.

Turn off Rush and NPR and follow the money.

Max Hunter's picture

EXACTLY !!  I've heard hours of debate over a few week period on the MSM.. Never once did I hear them mention the real problem.. COST !! 

toady's picture

Healthcare IS the last reason to try to stick with an employer, and as you say, it's being removed as we stand by watching.

No pension, no chance of growing with an employer over the years. Now no medical. All in an effort to be 'more competitive'.

It's a race to the bottom and we're almost there. Our ancestors who fought for worker's rights during the industrial revolution are spinning in their graves.

But the profits, sweet Jesus, the profits for the 1% are unbelievable!

orangedrinkandchips's picture


you must mean by Nov we will have a 5 handle on unemployement. Dropping 50% in a year! JUST in time for "elections".


guarneteed....5% unemployement by this fall....

midtowng's picture

3%? You think small. I don't see any reason why the unemployment rate couldn't go into negative numbers. All we have to do is drop the workforce participation rate down below the number of people who actually have jobs. It's easy.

Joe Davola's picture

Friggin' zero bound done be cockblockin' again!

SecondAdamWon's picture

Actually the unemployment rate will probably be 0% because everyone will be working and scavenging the land to secure food, water and a source of heat when the grid goes down. Unfortunately, after the die-off (God forbid), the number of participants in the labor force will be about the same. Thanks, Ben, good work pal.  

ihedgemyhedges's picture

Tyler, we know the NILF (Not In Labor Force).  Have you calculated the MILF number yet????

Moms In Labor Force, of course........................

Unprepared's picture

I had a Cougar ad yesterday on this very site. "What do young, attractive men really want?" - "A woman like you".

JPM Hater001's picture

100 million and one.  I was laid off yesterday.

Gully Foyle's picture

JPM Hater001

Dude, someone downvoted you for getting laid off.

ihedgemyhedges's picture

He got downvoted because someone thought he was going to say he got laid.................then he would've gotten a +6, if he's average.............

Gully Foyle's picture


Well he was downvoted twice.

I have to assume by illiterates, possibly OWS people or Julia exercising her right to vote twice.

johnnynaps's picture

Must have been a Republican. They, along with democrats infiltrate Zerohedge from time to time.

pods's picture

Bummer.  We cut about 15% on Tuesday.  

Not going to be a fun summer. Margin compression everywhere.


Akrunner907's picture

You have to remember that 300,000 people a month are turning 65 and retirement eligible.  A lot of them are going ahead and leaving the workforce because they see very little upside.

Almost Solvent's picture

Exactly. This will speed up the SSTF crash (which will hurt, but be good in the long run).


I'm 34, good stable employment, but those SS/Medicare taxes I pay are simply a donation to my grandma in my mind.


No fucking way SS/Medicare will be there for me in 45 years (I assume the "retirement" age will be around 79 by the time I get there)


Gotta see that glass half full, otherwise it's fucking depressing out there.

crawldaddy's picture

SSTF is fine. Hell if we just raise the salary cap limits, so that rich fuckers pay on salaries above 116,000, guess what . SSTF is solid for another 64 years.



crawldaddy's picture

but be good in the long run




where do you get such stupid ideas.  Like returning to the days before SS will help older people,  Before SS the elderly was the highest demographic of poverty in the US.  How is that going to help them?  Fucking idiots on this board.

Almost Solvent's picture

Obviously you're on or about to be on the SSTF teet.


Basic reading comprehension (which you clearly lack fuckface) would result in the knowledge that at no point did I reference helping old people on or about to be on SSTF.


What I did reference is the fact that at 34 years of age, I am not going to get out what I put into SSTF.


Whether or not I'm an idiot (I am because I am responding to a fuckface like you on an internet website) doesn't change facts nor reality that SSTF is a Ponzi scheme at this point.

Silveramada's picture

ok, ok people stay calm with the jobs numbers, are not too bad after all, soon we are going to have lots of jobs opening: serving soups at a quarter mile long line...

lakecity55's picture

I'm applying for one of those high-paid guard jobs at the local FEMA camp.

Long on Bribery and black-market barter!