The unemployment rate only includes people who don't have jobs and are looking for work. A much larger swath of people — about 36 percent of U.S. adults — don't have jobs and aren't looking for work at all. That figure is higher than it's been in decades (and, conversely, the share of adults in the labor force — shown in the graph above — is lower than it's been in decades).
Here are four reasons why so many people are leaving the labor force.
The U.S. economy grew by an annualized rate of 1.7 percent in the second quarter of 2013, according to gross domestic product data released Wednesday morning. The Commerce Department says the rise stems from business investments, particularly in buildings, and an upturn in exports and the civilian aircraft industry.
Amazon.com plans to hire more than 5,000 full-time workers for its warehouse and order-fulfillment centers, the retailing giant said Monday. Many of the jobs will be at Amazon outposts that are spread across more than 10 states.
"Median pay inside Amazon fulfillment centers is 30 percent higher than that of people who work in traditional retail stores," the company said in a news release announcing its plans.
The increase is from what had been a 10-week low. But basically, claims have been ranging between the mid-330,000s and mid-370,000s all year. Like other employment indicators, the jobless claims figures have been signalling that job growth remains modest.