labor force

 April 11th 2016 - Written by: Michael O'Donnell

The Labor Force & Demographic Shifts

In my last two blog posts, I discussed trends in labor force participation (here) and reasons why so many people are out of the labor force (here). As I noted in my most recent post, shifting demographic trends have changed the landscape of the labor force over the last decade and are likely to continue into the future – this is especially true of the oldest age cohorts. In particular, those cohorts have managed to simultaneously increase their rates of labor force participation while at the same time adding the largest number of people not in the labor force. The reason for this seeming incongruity is that population growth for this group is rapid. The population pyramid below, which is provided by the US Census Bureau, shows how the dynamics of the US population have changed through time. The pyramid, which allows you to scroll through years from 2000 to… View Full Post


 March 16th 2016 - Written by: Michael O'Donnell

Why Are So Many People Out of the Labor Force?

As I discussed in my last blog post (here), labor force participation rates, and trends in the rates, vary greatly by age cohort. While the overall rate has generally fallen for the past 10 years, individuals in the 24 and younger age cohort have been particularly affected. Meanwhile, the rate for those aged 55 or older has generally gone in the opposite direction over the same period and hit all-time highs after the Great Recession. Individuals within the prime working age cohort of 25-54 fall somewhere between the two extremes; however, the series trend has been downward after the great recession. What explains the trends? The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), using the Current Population Survey (CPS) and its Annual Social and Economic Supplement, investigated this very question (which can be found here). In that report, the BLS compared responses to surveys from 2004 and 2014. Individuals were asked to… View Full Post


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