Job market dropouts

Last year, 86 million Americans were not counted in the labor force because they hadn't recently looked for work. Here's what they've been doing instead.

Staying home with the kids
Staying home with the kids
Ray Martinez, 39
San Antonio, Texas

After serving in the Marine Corps for 12 years, I moved back home to San Antonio and eventually found a great position as a compliance coordinator for a trucking company. I worked there for about six years, but once the economy started going downhill, I was laid off.

I found another job as a customer relationship manager, and a year later, I was laid off again.

At first, we kept our baby in daycare, so I could spend every day filling out applications.

Roughly 250 applications later, I've only had four interviews and no other callbacks. A few months ago, I finally thought -- what's the point? I'd rather stay home with the baby.

I am now a stay-at-home dad with an MBA, and I have basically given up my job search. I'm thinking of going back to school to earn my PhD.

The really awesome part though, is the time spent with my two daughters. That's more fulfilling than my time spent on a fruitless job search.

By Annalyn Censky @CNNMoney - Last updated May 03 2012: 11:22 AM ET
The 86 million invisible unemployed

The unemployment rate is falling. But that doesn't include millions of Americans who aren't even looking for a job.