Wednesday, June 26, 2013

No country for young men

WSJ ran a nice analytical piece about the jobless recovery yesterday.  Even though GDP continues to recover, the job market lags far behind.  The 7.6% unemployment understates the true degree of joblessness because it ignores the drop in labor force participation.  In the 1990s and 2000s, two-thirds of working age adults were in the labor force, meaning they were either working or looking for work.  Last month only 63.4% were in the labor force, a three point drop since the recession started.  Further, the labor force participation rate has kept dropping even as the unemployment rate improved. 

Labor force participation is dropping off for two reasons: (1) the first wave of baby boomers has hit retirement age and (2) a sharp drop in participation among workers under 25.  Part of the latter drop reflects increased school attendance, but a big chunk is due to lousy job market opportunities. 

A few more interesting details:
  • The layoff rate has returned to normal levels but the new hire rate is still well below what we have seen in earlier recoveries
  • We still have over 4m workers who have been unemployed 6 months or more and those workers have only a 10% chance of getting work in any given month
  • There are still 2.4m fewer jobs now than at the start of the Great Recession

2 comments:

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