38-year low says it all…….

The number of Americans not in the labor force last month totaled 94,513,000 — a slight improvement from the 94,610,000 not in the labor force in September–but the labor force participation rate nonetheless remained at its lowest point in 38 years, with only 62.4 percent of the civilian noninstitutional population either holding a job or actively seeking one.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says economy added 271,000 jobs in October, well above economists’ expectations of 185,000, and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.0 percent in October from September’s 5.1 percent.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen told Congress on Wedesday that she sees the U.S. economy “as performing well,” although “we have seen some slowdown in the pace of job gains recently.”

She indicated that if the Nov. 6 jobs report and other economic data supports the Fed’s expectation that the economy will continue to grow, then an interest rate hike in December “would be a live possibility.”

The number of Americans not in the labor force, still near the all-time high recorded in September, includes retirees.

In September, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation’s civilian noninstitutional population, consisting of all people 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 251,541,000. Of those, 157,028,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.

The 157,028,000 who participated in the labor force equaled only 62.4 percent of the 251,541,000 civilian noninstitutional population. The last time the labor force participation was as low as 62.4 percent was in October 1977.

Other notes from Friday’s jobs report:

— Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.7 percent), adult women (4.5 percent), teenagers (15.9 percent), whites (4.4 percent), blacks
(9.2 percent), Asians (3.5 percent), and Hispanics (6.3 percent) showed little or no change in October.