About 14 percent of U.S. adults can't read because they're illiterate, according to a new study.
Some 32 million U.S. adults lack basic prose literacy skill, which means that they can't read a newspaper or the instruction on a bottle of pills.
The figures are for 2003, the latest year available.
"The crisis of adult literacy is getting worse, and investment in education and support programs is critical," Live Science quoted said David C. Harvey, president and CEO of ProLiteracy, in response to the finding, as saying.
Harvey said that education is critical to jobs and the economy.
"More than 1 million people lost their jobs in 2008 and the new unemployment figures are the highest in 16 years," Harvey said.
"A large number of the unemployed are low-skilled individuals who struggle with everyday reading, writing and math tasks. The administration wants to create new jobs with the stimulus packages, but to take advantage of those new positions, these adults need basic literacy skills," Harvey added.
The statistics were released by the U.S. Education Department this week.