The Labor Force: Who’s Leaving It?

In my last post, “US Employment: What’s Wrong With This Picture?“, I showed the workers of leaving the US Labor Force at an unprecedented rate. But who is leaving and why?

Obviously, workplace dynamics have changed dramatically (e.g., workers are retiring later in life and women have increasingly become a workforce with which to be reckoned). But how and by how much?

Specifically, what remained unclear was why the labor force, defined as the sum of employed and unemployed working age (25 – 54 y/o) adults, had undergone a secular increase from the 1940’s into the 2000’s and is now apparently reversing course. Is this due to a great dislocation of our perceptions and expectations? Perhaps there are other factors at play?

I can speculate all I want, but ultimately I need data to back my assertions. Fortunately, Quandl is making my data-life easier.

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US Employment: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

I would like to thank Quandl for providing me with this idea in their recent “Dataset of the Day“.

Often I have heard the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) and the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) numbers on unemployment are misleading. Even though they show that unemployment is down, it now is obvious that employment is not necessarily up. A shrinking labor force may be a disruptive trend, and is surely worth watching.

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