The real deal behind the 94 million Americans Trump says are out of work

Trump speech sends Dow above 21,000
Trump speech sends Dow above 21,000

President Trump cited a misleading statistic to cast the job market as weaker than it truly is.

"Tonight, as I outline the next steps we must take as a country, we must honestly acknowledge the circumstances we inherited. Ninety-four million Americans are out of the labor force," Trump said Tuesday night.

Here's the real deal on that stat: Some 95.1 million people are not in the labor force, but the vast majority of them don't want a job, according to the most recent quarterly data from the Atlanta Federal Reserve. Some 44.1 million are retired, 15.4 million are disabled, 12.9 million are taking care of a family member and another 15.5 million are in college or job training. They are listed as not wanting a job.

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About 5.5 million Americans are either marginally attached to the job market -- people who are not in the labor force who have looked for a job in the past year -- or want a job but stopped looking over a year ago.

Some economists argue that the official unemployment figure -- 7.6 million in January -- understates the true state of the job market because it only counts people who are out of a job and have looked for work in the past four weeks.

What is the 'real' unemployment rate?

The common measure of unemployment -- which has been the same for several decades -- is 4.8%. The leaders of the U.S. central bank, the Federal Reserve, say an unemployment rate this low means the U.S. economy is near "full employment," meaning the unemployment rate can't go down much more.

Related: What Wall Street wants to hear from Trump

A wider measure of unemployment includes people who've left the labor force but want a job, and part-timers who want full-time positions. That rate stands at 9.4%, the lowest since 2008. That wider measure peaked in 2010 at 17.1, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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