Archive for the ‘Labor Force’ Category

Is the high cost of childcare coaxing women out of the workforce?

October 26, 2015

One of the biz show pundits made an off-hand remark that he thought much of the recent decline in labor force participation rates was at least partially traceable to women dropping out of the workforce because of the high cost of childcare.

Plausible explanation that piqued my trust but verify interest, so I did a little digging.

Let’s start with the big picture : The total labor force participation rate (LFPR).


Some takeaways ….

Note that the history breaks into roughly 3 distinct eras.

From 1965 (as far back as I looked) until about 1990, the LFPR  increased by about 8 percentage … almost a straight line, trending up.

Then, coincident to the 1990 recession, the LFPR essentially flat-lined with some bouncing around between 66% and 67%.

Since the 2008 financial crisis and the LFPR has dropped around 4 percentage points … not quite half of the 1965 to 1990 gain.


Splitting the chart by gender is where things start to get interesting.


Bummer: The middle class plight … in 2 charts.

May 1, 2013

Pew released a sobering report last week: An Uneven Recovery, 2009-2011

The central conclusion: the rich have gotten richer and the middle class has gotten crushed.


Upper and lower income groups have both increased by about 5 percentage points of the population mix.

In other words, the percentage of middle class folks – earning from 2/3s to twice the median income – has dropped by 10 percentage points.

What’s going on?


More “temps” is the workforce … is that good or bad?

March 15, 2013

Prof. Mark Perry of AEI crafted the below chart and observes …

Employment in temporary help services grew by 16,100 jobs in February, bringing the total number of temporary and contract workers to 2.58 million last month, the highest level since August 2007.

As a leading indicator of overall US labor market demand, the ongoing positive trend in temporary hiring is a sign that the labor market is gradually improving and suggests an increased pace of broader-based hiring for workers going forward in 2013.

It’s also likely that many employees who initially get hired on a temporary basis will be offered employment on a full-time permanent basis as the economy improves.

Prof Perry sees the glass as half full


Predictably, I see the glass as half-empty …


Work harder: “Tax payer dependents” are counting on you.

December 11, 2012

Here are some nums that should give you pause.

There are about 315 million people living legally in the US.

244 million — 77.5% of the 315 million – are working age … the rest are kids

155 million of the 244 million are officially counted “in the labor force” … that’s 63.8% – the labor force participation rate.

Of the 155 million, 143 million are employed; 12 million are unemployed … that’s 7.7% of the 155 million in the labor force

Of the 143 million who are employed, 22 million (15%) work for Fed, state and local government121 million work in the private sector

The 121 million private sector employees pay the taxes that support

  • 89 million working age adults who aren’t looking for work
  • 12 million unemployeds
  • 22 million government employees (remember, our tax dollars pay their wages, benefits, and over-stuffed pensions)

That’s a total of 122 million adults who are dependent on the taxes paid by 121 million private sector workers.

Got that?

There are more tax payer dependent adults than there are private sector workers.

Think about it …


Coming: How the ratio of tax payer dependent adults to private sector workers has changed over time.

Stay tuned ….

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