The number of Americans not in the labor force last month totaled 94,103,000 — a slight improvement from the 94,446,000 not in the labor force in November–and the labor force participation rate increased a tenth of a point, with 62.6 percent of the civilian noninstitutional population either holding a job or actively seeking one.

For all of 2015, the highest labor participation rate was 62.9 percent in January: the lowest was 62.4 percent in September, and that 62.4 percent was the lowest in 38 years.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the economy added 292,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 5.0 percent — for the third month in a row.

In December, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation’s civilian noninstitutional population, consisting of all people 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 251,936,000. Of those, 157,833,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.

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