Saturday, December 8, 2012

The Labor Force Continues To Decline

From The Wall Street Journal, "The Case of the Missing Workers" in Opinion:
Yet even as payrolls are rising, albeit slowly, the overall labor participation rate has continued to fall. In November, the share of the available labor force that is working fell to 63.6%, which is down from 65.7% when the recession ended in June 2009.

Mull that one over: Three years into an economic expansion, the labor participation rate has fallen two full percentage points and three times this year (including November) it has reached the lowest level since 1981. This means that about three million more workers were working or looking for work in 2009 than in November. In the last year alone, the number of working age nonworkers grew to 89.2 million from 86.8 million.
Possible causes are early retirement of baby boomers and/or increased government benefits for not working, such as extended unemployment insurance and higher income eligibility levels for food stamps.

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