Thursday, April 12, 2012

The labor force is shrinking

Last week's report showed that although the unemployment rate had dropped by 0.1 percent, it was not because more people found jobs.  Instead, fewer people who were without jobs were bothering to look.  WP's Brad Plumer tries to fins out why this was happening.  The data cited in his blog entry indicate that most of those dropping out of the labor force are baby boomers who have decided they no longer want a job. 

This is another classic good/bad news situation.  On the plus side, if this trend continues, the unemployment rate may fall faster than most forecasts indicate.  Most economic forecasts are simple attempts to extrapolate trends from the past to the future and the unique aspects of boomers may very
well be inconsistent with the retirement patterns of older cohorts. 

On the minus side, what are these people going to do?  Longevity is increasing, health care costs are ballooning and the government continues to ignore the fiscal issues we face down the road with Social Security and Medicare.  The old line used to be "Son, get a job."  Now it may need to become "Dad, get a job." 

No comments:

Post a Comment