Labor Force Decline Driven by Young, Middle-Aged Workers

Barb Wire

By E21, Manhattan Institute

Over the past seven years, the civilian labor force participation rate has steadily declined. As of February, the rate stood at 63.0 percent, the same level as 1978 (before the economic boom and movement of women into the labor force during the 1980s).

The labor force decline is driven by people in the prime years of their careers. The labor force participation rate for those aged 25 – 54 has dropped 2 full percentage points since 2007, from 83 percent to 81 percent. Had the labor force participation rate for this group stayed steady, an additional 2.5 million individuals would be attached to the labor force.

Read more: Economic Policies for the 21st Century

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