The headline of a March 8 CNSNews.com article by Elizabeth Harrington blares, "Record 89,304,000 Americans 'Not in Labor Force' -- 296,000 Fewer Employed Since January."
But that's highly misleading. As even Harrington points out, this number includes "people who have retired on schedule, taken early retirement, or simply given up looking for work." But even that doesn't tell the full story about the number, which is the total number of working-age people who aren't in the work force, which is not the same thing as being unemployed.
As the Bureau of Labor Statistics defines it, "not in the labor force" means "persons aged 16 years and older in the civilian noninstitutional population who are neither employed nor unemployed in accordance with the definitions contained in this glossary. Information is collected on their desire for and availability for work, job search activity in the prior year, and reasons for not currently searching."
But Harrington's story got promoted by the Drudge Report, which appears to be a higher goal at CNS than accurate reporting.