labor force

Women leading increase in labor force participation rate

While the labor force participation rate of prime-age individuals (age 25 to 54) remains below its pre-recession level, it has been increasing since 2015. A recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City found that college-educated women have made the largest contribution to this recovery.

Useful stats: Labor force participation and employment by state and metro status, 2013-2017

The U.S. unemployment rate is near its 50-year low, but the portion of the population in the labor force is also near a 40-year low.

New evidence for opioids’ impacts on employment rates

The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland has released a working paper that establishes connections between opioid prescription rates and employment rates. The authors use longitudinal data, as well as leveraging the Great Recession as a sort of natural experiment, to provide evidence that opioids not only relate to declining labor force participation, but have likely caused this outcome.

Recent Research: Exploring where the workers have gone

An earlier SSTI analysis detailed the Bureau of Labor Statistics labor force participation projections, revealing a continuing downward trend in the number of workers despite a growing population. Additional research papers released in February from economists at the University of Maryland as well as the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank explores the reasons behind the trend, finding that trade and robots have had a significant impact, and suggests that some prime-age workers may not be coming back.

Useful Stats: Labor force participation by state; overall rate continues decline

An aging, more diverse workforce is what the Bureau of Labor Statistics foresees in the coming decade, with a declining participation rate, which may in turn restrict economic growth. The new projections released this week echo the downward trend in the rate of labor force participation since the peak of 67.3 percent in early 2000. While recent trends show an increasing level of participation among the 55+ crowd, there has been a decreasing level of participation among 16 to 24-year-olds as school enrollment has increased, as well as a continuing decline among the prime working-age cohort of 25 to 54-year-olds.

An SSTI analysis of the labor force participation rate of the prime age workers for each state revealed a great amount of variation among the states. The map below shows the participation rate for this cohort averaged out over 2014-2016 to account for yearly fluctuations.

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