Labor Force Participation 61.6 Percent in September

The labor force participation rate was 61.6% in September 2021. September marked 17 months into the recovery from the February–April 2020 recession. While the participation rate has increased by 1.4 percentage points since its low in April 2020, it is 1.7 percentage points below the pre-recession level of 63.3% in February 2020. An economic recovery marks the period after a recession ends and before another begins.

The labor force participation rate never fully recovered to its pre-recession levels following the 2001 and 2007–09 recessions. At the start of each new recession the rate has been lower than it had been at its lowest point during the prior recession.

During the 2001 recession, the participation rate gradually declined from its level of 67.2% in March 2001. In April 2003, 17 months into the recovery, the participation rate was 66.4%.

In December 2007, at the onset of the 2007–2009 recession, the participation rate was 66.0%. Again the rate gradually declined throughout the recession and well into the recovery. In November 2010, 17 months into the recovery, the participation rate was 64.6%.