The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.3 percent, according to numbers released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The decline is due almost entirely to shrinking workforce participation rates.
BLS reports: “Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.1 percent), adult women (6.3 percent), teenagers (22.7 percent), whites (6.4 percent), blacks (13.0 percent), and Hispanics (9.3 percent) showed little change in August. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.1 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier.”
A smaller percentage of working-age Americans are actually working than at any time since 1978, according to Bloomberg News. The news site reports: “The participation rate, which indicates the share of working-age people in the labor force, declined to 63.2 percent, the lowest since August 1978, from 63.4 percent.”
Maine’s employment picture is better than the national average. As of the Maine Department of Labor’s latest report in July, the Pine Tree State had an unemployment rate of 6.9 percent and an above average workforce participation rate.