Labor markets have been hit hard by global trade, including the collapse of the global economic recovery and the rise of automation, which threatens to eliminate millions of jobs.
But the number of Americans working without a high school diploma or a bachelor’s degree is higher than ever.
The Labor Department said the number fell 2.1 million to 26.8 million in March.
That compares with 25.6 million in February and 24.7 million in January.
In the past year, there were 8.6 more workers in the U.S. who lacked a high-school diploma or bachelor’s degrees, the latest monthly count from the Labor Department.
The drop in the number employed without a college degree and high school diplomas is not unprecedented, experts said.
The total number of people without a diploma or high school degree rose by more than 20 percent between 2000 and 2010.
That growth is partly due to an increase in the use of technology, particularly computers and software that can handle higher-level tasks.
But there are signs that automation may have also been part of the reason for the fall in the labor force participation rate.
In the past decade, the rate has fallen from a peak of about 70 percent in 2001, before the Great Recession, to below 50 percent in March, according to the Labor Center, a nonpartisan research group.
There is evidence that Americans are more likely to have lost their jobs because of the Great Depression, when unemployment was at a high of 16 percent.
The labor force is expected to fall another 4.2 million jobs in 2019, according in the Congressional Budget Office, which projects the unemployment rate will fall further to 4.5 percent in 2020.
The number of college graduates and those who are not employed but who want to become employed are growing, according the Census Bureau.
In addition, there is more interest among Americans in becoming certified as a nurse or a social worker, a job that is increasingly becoming obsolete, experts say.
There are also signs that the number is increasing in areas like retail and food service, which employ some of the lowest-skilled workers in America.
The number of food service workers rose in March from a low of 17.3 million in September.
The unemployment rate is currently at 4.7 percent.