As Congress Debates Syria, U.S. Labor Force Hits 35-Year Low

As Congress Debates Syria, U.S. Labor Force Hits 35-Year Low

A key concern of Sen. Bernie Sanders about President Obama’s request for the United States to launch military strikes against Syria is that it would divert Congress and the president from dealing with jobs and other important but overlooked issues here at home. “If we get sucked into a civil war in Syria, it will be harder to deal with 14 percent unemployment or 20 percent youth unemployment or 40 percent black youth unemployment, and the many, many other problems that this country faces,” Sanders said on Monday on MSNBC.

There was, for example, startling but barely-noticed news in the unemployment report for August, when the share of the population in the workforce hit a 35-year law. The size of the workforce declined by about 300,000 and the participation rate fell to 63.2 percent from 63.4 percent—the lowest since August 1978, according to an analysis by Peter Coy for Bloomberg Businessweek. The participation rate is the number of people either working or actively searching for work as a share of the working-age population.

Watch the MSNBC interview »

Read the Bloomberg Businessweek article »