Monday, September 8, 2014

The Long View on Labor Force Participation

The source here is definitely a conservative website interested in bashing Democrats.

But, they have a good graphic for one of the meme floating around about one symptom of the economy not working too well. Labor force participation is at a 36 year low, but compared to what exactly?

Labor Force Participation-August

So, somehow we’re on the downside of a 50 year swell in labor force participation. The time frame is the key: 50 years means that this is unlikely to be caused by some sort of policy. Instead, it’s likely to be demographics.

And that’s a point I’ve made many times for students on this blog over the last few years. The baby boomers started working in 1962 (when those born first, in 1946, turned 16), were probably all working by 1994 (when the tailenders born in 1964 hit 30), and started to edge into early retirement starting around 2001 (when the initial group turned 55). And this will continue until the tailenders are 55 to 70 (2019 to 2034) before any other demographic feature is large enough to swamp their effect.

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