Nums: Labor Force Participation Rate hits 30 year low …

One of the big headlines last Friday was that the Labor Force Participation rate continued to fall December (which is why the unemployment rate ticked down despite paltry job growth).

More specifically, the LFPR is down more that 4 percentage points since the financial crisis hit.



Let’s put the current LFPR is perspective: Now, about 62.5% of the able-bodied adult population either has a job or is actively looking for one.

Said differently, over 37% don’t have jobs and aren’t actively looking.

Let’s drill down to a couple of demographic groups ….


Women’s LFPR increased by 25  percentage points from 35% in 1950 to 60% in the early 1990s … it held there for about 20 years, but has dropped by 2.5 percentage points since the financial crisis.



Men’s LFPR has dropped 15 percentage points since 1950 … about 1/3 of that decline – almost 5 percentage points —  has come since the financial crisis … and recent periods exhibit a steepening slope.



Black’s LFPR increased by about 7 percentage points since the mid-1970s (earliest that the data is reported) to 2000 – when it peaked at about 66% …. the rate has dropped to just over 60% …. the declining trend has steepened.



Draw your own conclusions

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One Response to “Nums: Labor Force Participation Rate hits 30 year low …”

  1. TK Says:

    Conclusion #1 : I should go to the FED site and drop all data onto a single graph for better context.,LNU01300001,LNU01300002,LNU01300006,

    Conclusion #2: since 1950 women have shifted into the work force while men have shifted out

    conclusion #3: creating a new graph of participation rates by race suggests a consistent pattern of rising/falling participation rates across races with Hispanic/Latino at the high end of participation followed by Asian, White and African American.,LNU01300003,LNU01332183,LNU01300006,LNU01300009,

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