A discouraged worker is an unemployed worker who is not actively seeking employment. He or she is available to work, and has looked for employment sometime in the past year, yet is no longer job hunting because he or she believes there are no jobs available.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not consider discouraged workers to be unemployed, but rather “on the margins” of the labor force. Discouraged workers therefore make up part of what is known as “hidden unemployment” – that is, unemployment not counted in most official unemployment surveys. Adding the number of discouraged workers to the total unemployment count offers a better idea of the number of workers available.
Rob is considered a discouraged worker – after spending six months job hunting and failing to find employment, he gave up searching, believing that there were no jobs available for him.