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09 September 2014.|
Last week the official US unemployment rate ticked down a little bit, despite disappointing jobs numbers.
That seems to be the trend these days, and it’s due to the ever shrinking labor force, which is unfortunately expected to continue its decline.
The U.S. labor force participation rate — that is, the share of working-age Americans who are either working or seeking work — has returned to a multi-decade low of 62.8 percent, down from 65.9 percent before the recession. This number, which has been in a nosedive ever since the 2008 recession began, remains mired at levels that haven’t been seen since women began entering the workforce in large numbers.
Fewer Americans are in the labor market today than at any point since 1978.
If that isn’t bad enough, keep reading.
A few days earlier, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office had released a new report projecting that labor force participation has not hit bottom yet.
The number will continue to fall for another ten years until it reaches just 61 percent in 2024 — which by that time would be a 50-year low.
In other words, CBO expects a full decade in which the share of working Americans gradually declines further below its historically low post-recession levels.
The ramifications are enormous for the economy itself, not to mention the government programs their tax dollars must fund.
A number of factors are contributing to the decline, a big one is the retirement of Baby Boomers.
Then there is Obamacare and the lousy economy.
This doesn’t take into account the number of Americans working part time who want to work full time.
In related news, according to a new BLS survey, unemployed Americans are more likely to be doing some leisurely shopping than looking for a job. Soon those people will probably be counted as out of the labor market.