The number of Americans aged 16 and older not participating in the labor force hit 92,898,000 in February, tying December’s record, according to data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Over the longer trend, the labor force participation rate was between 62.9 percent and 62.7 percent from April 2014 through February, and has been hovering around 62.9 percent or lower in 13 of the 17 months since October 2013, the BLS data revealed.
To put it another way, when President Obama took office in January 2009, there were 80,529,000 Americans who were not participating in the workforce, which means that 12,369,000 US citizens have left the workforce since then.
The number of Americans out of the workforce jumped by 354,000 last month.
The last time the labor participation rate dropped below 63 percent was 37 years ago, in March 1978 when it was 62.8 percent….
Politically motivated budget cuts and a hiring freeze have left the Navy with a shipyard workforce incapable of maintaining even its most valuable hardware, including the fleet of hunter-killer submarines and aircraft carriers that are crucial to projecting U.S. force across the globe.
Officials are warning that employee shortages mean completions of ongoing retrofits are being delayed, endangering deployment plans and compromising international agreements that require tight time lines.
The Navy has already warned that current projections show repairs to four ships over the next year won’t be completed on time, as officials urgently work to rebuild a shipyard workforce that dropped to an all-time low of 30,000 Defense Department civilian personnel from a target of about 33,500 workers because of budget cuts associated with sequestration.
“We’re not getting them out on time,” Naval Sea Systems Command spokesman Rory O’Connor said.
The Navy had 17 ships in various stages of repair during fiscal 2014, said Christopher Johnson, another spokesman for the command, which designs, builds, delivers and maintains ships for the Navy.
Whenever they have a repair delay, Navy planners have to look “across the fleet to determine how to adjust ship schedules,” said Lt. Cmdr. Cate Cook, a spokeswoman for Navy Fleet Forces Command, which allocates the ships. She said that not having the needed vessels available can be a devastating blow to any number of crucial missions.
By Maggie Ybarra – The Washington Times –