Understanding Trends in U.S. Labor Force Participation (VIDEO)

By and ·December 3, 2018
Harvard University and George Washington University and The Hamilton Project, Brookings Institution

Excerpt from webinar with Karen Dynan (Harvard University), Jay Shambaugh (George Washington University, and The Hamilton Project at The Brookings Institution), and Eduardo Porter (New York Times), October 23, 2018. A collaboration between EconoFact and The Hamilton Project, Brookings.

The Issue:

The share of the adult population that is either working or looking for work has been steadily declining in the U.S. Karen Dynan at Harvard University, Jay Shambaugh at George Washington University and The Hamilton Project at The Brookings Institution, and Eduardo Porter of the New York Times highlight a few reasons for the decline.

Labor force participation among prime age men, especially those with less education, has been steadily falling in the U.S. for over 50 years.

What this Means:

A substantial part of the decline in labor force participation can be explained by the the retirement of baby-boomers. But there are concerning trends in participation for those who are in prime working ages. The fact that the return to low-skilled work has been falling, together with poor options for elder care and child care, have contributed to more people leaving the work-force. In contrast to other advanced economies, since 2,000, labor force participation among prime-age women has been declining in the U.S. The good news is that considering this trend isn’t universal, the U.S. can look to other advanced countries and make policy shifts to help reverse the decline in women in the labor force.


Employment / Video
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