People who are neither employed nor unemployed are not part of the workforce. This category includes retired people, students, those who care for children or other family members, and others who are not working or looking for work. Discouraged workers, who are no longer seeking employment, are not considered active in the workforce. This means that the overall unemployment rate, which is based solely on the number of active workers, does not take into account the number of discouraged workers in the country.
Many full-time university students have only a part-time job or have no jobs at all, but they should not be considered as people suffering from the hardships of unemployment. The Census Bureau asks a series of questions to divide the adult population into employed, unemployed, or non-members of the workforce. Therefore, a person who has no work but is currently unavailable for work or who has not actively sought work in the past four weeks is considered excluded from the workforce. Economists refer to this third group of people who do not work and are not looking for work as if they were outside the labor force.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the Department of Labor defines discouraged workers as “those who are not part of the workforce and who want to work and are available to work, and who have sought work at some point in the previous 12 months, but are not considered unemployed because they had not sought work in the 4 weeks prior to the survey. More specifically, discouraged workers have not actively sought work in the past four weeks; therefore, they are not considered unemployed. Discouraged workers can be a significant factor in determining an accurate unemployment rate. They are often overlooked when calculating unemployment figures because they are no longer actively seeking employment.
However, their presence can still have an impact on economic growth and job creation. The government can take steps to help discouraged workers re-enter the workforce by providing job training and other assistance programs. Additionally, employers can help by providing flexible hours and other incentives that make it easier for discouraged workers to find employment. Discouraged workers should be taken into account when calculating unemployment figures.
They represent a large portion of those who are not actively seeking employment but still want to work. By recognizing their presence and taking steps to help them re-enter the workforce, we can ensure that our economy is accurately represented and that everyone has an opportunity to find meaningful employment.