Bloomberg by the Numbers: 62.8%

People seeking employment fill out applications on April 23, 2014 in Detroit.

Photograph by Joshua Lott/Getty Images

People seeking employment fill out applications on April 23, 2014 in Detroit.

The participation rate — the share of the working-age population in the U.S. either employed or seeking a job — was 62.8 percent in April.

This matches the lowest level since March 1978.

The share of potential workers either employed or seeking work declined in April for the first time this year, contributing to that almost half-percentage-point decrease in the nation’s unemployment rate reported Friday by the Department of Labor.  The jobless rate was down to 6.3 percent in April.

The economy added 288,000 jobs in March, the biggest  growth since January 2012. Yet that falling participation rate is an offsetting factor.

“It doesn’t seem like the improving job market is really pulling people back into job-seeking,” Michael Feroli, chief U.S. economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York, told Bloomberg’s Victoria Stillwell. “It’s kind of a sobering message about the supply side of the economy and the economy’s potential growth rate.”

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