Monday, October 08, 2012

More on the Participation Rate

One of the good things about Drinking Right is meeting people who really know from numbers.

So when I posted about the "participation rate", THE local numbers-guy was in the combox:

- 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%

So.  It seems that "retirement" is happening to less people than ever before.  The size of the 65-74 year-old cohort is still sufficient to make "retirement" a major demographic factor.

But "participation" is down in the categories where the country needs it the most:  16-24 and 25-54.


Billiam said...

I'm still participating, but damn, it's destroying my body...

steveegg said...


- If either the 2002-2007 demographic trends continued unaltered by the recession and Obama or simply stayed where it was in 2007, the seasonally-adjusted (by +0.2 points from the unadjusted) unemployment rate would have been above 9% (respectively, 9.2% and 9.3%) as there would have been, on an unadjusted basis and again respectively, 14.2 million or 14.4 million unemployed instead of 11.7 million unemployed. The participation rate would have been, respectively, 64.6% or 64.7% instead of 63.6%.
- Similarly, had just the "official" part of the recession hit, and the demographics either stayed where they were in 2009 or resumed the 2002-2007 trends, the seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate would have been 8.5% as there would have been, respectively and on an unadjusted basis, 12.9 million or 13.0 million unemployed. The particiaption rate would have been 64.1%.