Millions of Americans w/o Degrees Leaving Workforce, Despite High GDP

‘There is a large pool of potential workers in the country who could fill jobs that require modest education…’

Why the Slowdown in Employment?

Photo by Tax Credits (CC)

(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) A Center for Immigration Studies report found that, despite high GDP growth and low unemployment, labor force participation is below pre-Great Recession levels and is especially low for native-born U.S. citizens who do not hold college degrees.

“Business groups may point to the low unemployment rate as they lobby for more foreign workers, but unemployment statistics obscure the enormous number of people who are out of the labor market entirely and therefore do not show up as ‘unemployed,’” said Steven Camarota, CIS director of research, who authored the report.

“There is a large pool of potential workers in the country who could fill jobs that require modest education.”

The labor-force participation rate for U.S. natives without bachelor’s degrees has fallen sharply, from 76.4 percent in 2000 to 74.3 percent in 2007.


Today, it has plummeted to 70.7 percent—and this is during a highly productive period in the U.S. economy.

On top of this, the gap between the upper class and the working class continues to grow.

The labor-force participation rate for Americans with bachelor’s degrees now sits at 86.6 percent, a nearly 16-point divide from their fellow citizens without degrees.

That difference was 10.9 percent in 2000 and 12.3 percent in 2007.

To make matters worse for U.S. natives without college degrees, the labor force participation rate for immigrants without college degrees is 74.5 percent, about 4 percent higher than for natives.

Eligible workers not in the labor force—immigrants and natives—reached 47.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, up more than 10 million since 2000.

About 80 percent of people who have dropped out of the labor force do not have college degrees.

Including workers who are unemployed and searching for work, there are 53.3 million Americans without work.