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Near Record Number of
People Quit Looking for Work in 2013

Second Largest Drop in Labor Force Participation Since 1961
Surpassed Only During the Great Recession

OKLAHOMA CITY, Jan. 13, 2014 — According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of people looking for work in 2013 declined at a rate not seen since 1961, with the exception of the decline that took place in 2009 as a result of the Great Recession.

The labor force participation rate declined from 63.6 in January 2013 to 62.8 percent last month. The 0.8 percent annual drop was surpassed only by a 1.2 percent drop in 2009 and a drop of 0.9 percent in 1961. Today's report means the number of people who quit looking for work has dropped at its sharpest rate in 52 years, with the exception of the drop that took place in 2009.

“The sad, tragic and almost untold story of employment is how many people have quit looking for work,” said Bob Funk, the CEO of Express Employment Professionals and a former Chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve. “It’s misleading to call the economy healthy when so many Americans have given up hope and stopped looking for a job.

“Equally troubling, at a time when the economy is thought to be recovering, the rate of decline is accelerating.”

In 2010, the rate declined by 0.3 percent; in 2011 by 0.3 percent; in 2012 by 0.4 percent and in 2013 by 0.8 percent.

“The number of people who have given up on looking for work is growing – just the opposite of what you want to see,” Funk said. “This issue deserves a lot more attention than it is receiving.”

The Department of Labor today announced that the unemployment rate dropped from 7.0 percent in November 2013 to 6.7 percent last month, while the labor force participation rate declined from 63.0 percent to 62.8 percent for the month.




If you would like to arrange for an interview with Bob Funk to discuss this topic, please contact Sherry Kast at (405) 717-5966.


About Robert A. Funk
Robert A. “Bob” Funk is chairman and chief executive officer of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has 700 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Under his leadership, Express has put more than five million people to work worldwide. Funk served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and was also the Chairman of the Conference of Chairmen of the Federal Reserve.

About Express Employment Professionals
Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated more than $2.5 billion in temporary sales and employed nearly 400,000 people in 2013, and ranks as the largest franchised staffing company and second largest privately held staffing company in the United States. Its long-term goal is to put a million people to work annually.