The percentage of Americans who have jobs has fallen to the lowest point in three decades and now hovers just above 45 percent of the total population, according to an analysis of labor data published by USA Today.
The report, based on figures provided by the Census and the Bureau of Labor Statistics, showed that at 36.7 percent, Mississippi had the lowest percentage of population working.
Employment rates were also low in California and Arizona, where just over 37 percent had jobs. At 55.8 percent, North Dakota had the highest rate of employed residents.
Overall, 45.4 percent of Americans were working, the lowest since 1983. Employment peaked at 49.3 percent in 2000.
“The bad economy, an aging population and a plateau in women working are contributing to changes that pose serious challenges for financing the nation’s social programs,” the paper noted.
The news comes at a time when Republican senators have unveiled a plan to raise the retirement age, which would force more Americans to search for jobs that just aren’t there.
Freshman tea party-backed Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) — along with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) — have joined the call, seeking to raise the retirement age to 70 in the next 20 years.
“If you talk to young people in America – they’ve already accepted this,” Paul said Wednesday.
USA Today featured an interactive chart showing every individual state’s total employment figures. Click here for the whole article.
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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