Monday, October 08, 2012

That "Participation Rate" Thing....

The "participation rate" thing is floating around, and it's a datapoint which appears to be less-than-conclusive.

Two key points:

• Some of the recent decline in the participation rate has been to due to cyclical issues (severe recession), but MOST of the decline in the overall participation rate over the last decade has been due to the aging of the population. There are also some long term trends toward lower participation for younger workers pushing down the overall participation rate.

• This decline in the participation rate has been expected for years. Here are three projections (two from before the recession started). The key to these projections is that the decline in the participation rates was expected

The link also has a graph.

This information is more useful:

There are 1.1 million fewer people on non-farm payrolls today than when President Obama took office.

Along with the U-6 rate (people who are forced into part-time employment or who gave up looking for a job.)

The Obozo Plan isn't exactly a barn-burner, is it?


steveegg said...

Let's deconstruct the "participation rate" deal:

- Those 16 to 24 years old were slowly not even entering the workforce before the DemPression, with the participation rate going from an unadjusted 62.0% in 9/2002 to 58.5% in 9/2007. The recession dropped it to 55.2% in 9/2009, and then the bottom dropped out as it fell to 53.8% 9/2012, the lowest September on record.

- The 25-54 year old demographic, long the one considered the "prime earners", saw their participation rate drop from 83.3% in 9/2002 to 83.1% in 9/2007, 82.5% in 9/2009, and 81.7% in 9/2012. That tied with last September for the lowest September since 1984, when there were far more voluntary stay-at-home parents.

- The 55-64 year old demographic actually increased their participation rate, going from 62.9% in 9/2002 to 64.0% in 9/2007, 64.5% in 9/2009 and 64.6% in 9/2012. I will note the current number is a bit off the high of 65.0% in 9/2010.

- Perhaps due to the slow increase in Social Security's "normal retirement age", the 65-69 year old demographic has never had a higher September participation rate. It went from 26.5% in 9/2002 to 29.1% in 9/2007, 30.5% in 9/2009, and a record 32.2% in 9/2012.

- Even those between 70 and 74 years old are working in far greater numbers than they were before the DemPression, though the trend is more like the 55-64 crowd than the 65-69 crowd. Their participation rate went from 14.6% in 9/2002 to 18.7% in 9/2007, 19.8% in 9/2009 and 20.0% in 9/2012, off a bit from the 9/2011 high of 20.3%

It is those who think that the participation-rate crater is due to the aging of the population who are, to paraphrase McBride, unaware of the current situation.

Jim said...

I just had a flashback to the Bush administration ("There you go again.") when the job numbers and participation rate was not great. The Bushies justified the numbers by saying that more and more people were leaving the job market to make money selling stuff on eBay.

Anonymous said...

Cite a source, or shut your mouth Jim.

Anonymous said...

Looks like our resident Nazi Anony at 3:58 p.m. is at it again. He and St. Revolution make a great couple!

steveegg said...

That still counts as employment, Jim. Get your surveys straight.