The labor force includes people who are unemployed but actively looking for work.
This year (in both January and April), only 57.6 percent of the women in the civilian noninstitutional population were in the labor force. That is the lowest rate of labor force participation by American women since April 1993, according to historical data maintained by BLS.It would be interesting to know why this has happened. Is it a cultural trend, with families restructuring to single-earner form? Are more women going the "Julia" route, finding succor in the arms of the government? Or is this mostly the government's recategorization of the unemployed, done to keep us from seeing the real unemployment percentage?
The rate of female participation in the civilian workforce peaked twelve years ago--in April 2000--when hit 60.3 percent...
For both males and females combined, the rate of participation in the labor force dropped to 63.6 percent in April—the lowest rate since December 1981.
Recently, however, women have been leaving the labor force in larger numbers than men.