Just 7.6 million Americans are actually unemployed

By Katie Reilly
February 28, 2017

During his address to Congress on Tuesday, President Donald Trump used a misleading figure to suggest that a much greater number of Americans are unemployed.

“We must honestly acknowledge the circumstances we inherited,” Trump said. “Ninety-four million Americans are out of the labor force.”

But that number is misleading because it does not represent the number of Americans who actually want to be employed.

As of January 2017, there were 94.4 million people classified as not being in the labor force, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics survey. But as the Washington Post has noted, the total 94.4 million figure includes retirees, students, stay-at-home parents and people who are disabled — people who are not looking for a job.

Just 7.6 million people are actually unemployed, according to the BLS — an unemployment rate of 4.8%, close to what economists consider to be full employment.

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