Thursday, December 17, 2015

Low Labor Participation Rate Is Not Due To Baby Boomers Retiring

Once again, we have another Employment Report, and once again, the unemployment rate gets a boost from people who have left, or are leaving the the workforce.  The lowest in nearly 4 decades.  Some would argue that if the labor participation rate was where it was at pre-recession, the actual unemployment rate would be over 10% and not at the 5% we see today.

Last March, the Chairman of the Republican National Committee blamed the "Obama economy" for the decline in labor participation.  However, a writer for wrote this while arguing against that criticism of the President.
"economists say most of the decline, which has been happening for more than a decade, is due to demographics, including the trend of baby boomers reaching retirement age and deciding to no longer work."
The problem with the retiring baby boomer argument, is that its just flat wrong.  Once a year, the Bureau of Labor Statistics issues a report on labor participation rates.  The latest for 2014 shows this:

Simply, the labor participation rates for older Americans are rising; indicating a willingness to work past the early retirement age of 55 years or the normal retirement age of 65 years. The real losses have been for those of the working ages 16 to 24 and 25 to 54; with the 16 to 24 year olds being hardest hit.

Enough with the lame baby boomer argument for losses in the labor participation rate.


Employment Situation Report for November 2015:

Civilian labor force participation rate by age, gender, race, and ethnicity:  Declining Labor Participation Rates:

Participation Rate Lowest in 38 Years - CNS News:

Over 38 Million Men Not in Labor Force, Reaching New Record Low:

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