Boots & Sabers

The blogging will continue until morale improves...


Everything but tech support.

0735, 13 Oct 14

Labor Participation Rate at Historic Low

It does seem odd that 5 years after the recession officially ended, we are still talking about “the recovery.” The reason is because we have never really recovered. Frankly, we should have fully recovered by now and be nearing the natural economic cycle of another recession pretty soon.

Here is the stunning statistic on the economy that tells the whole story about why we aren’t growing faster. Since Barack Obama entered the Oval Office in January of 2009,the percentage of the working age population actually part of the labor force (either working or looking for work) has plummeted by 3 percentage points – to 62.7%. Not since early 1978 has such a low proportion of the working-age population been in the labor force. In effect, the labor force is 7.4 million smaller than it otherwise would have been  had people either not stopped looking for work or, particularly with the case of younger Americans, simply failed to  start looking for work. In effect, nearly as many Americans have either  left the work force – or never entered —  in this recovery than have found a job.

That’s a very distressing trend.  It also explains the big dive in the official unemployment rate to 5.9%. Unemployment keeps going down as more Americans give up looking for a job.

Here’s another trouble spot: the jobs that the economy is creating now aren’t the same caliber jobs that were lose during the recession of 2008 and 2009.  Workers who got laid off are increasingly having to settle for lower wage jobs in retail, food services, or leisure and hospitality.  This may explain why President Obama and his allies on the left are able to point to McDonald’s workers who are the head of a household.  If it’s true that mothers and fathers are having to work as burger flippers, that’s not an argument for raising the minimum wage. It’s asad indictment of this recovery.


0735, 13 October 2014


  1. Jerry

    Yes it is a very sad indictment of the recovery. It is an even worse indictment of a do nothing Congress that has refused to work with the President on any of his recovery packages. When the Congressional Republican leaders meet on the morning of the President’s first inauguration to lay plans as to how they can keep him from being a two term President…….we have those elected to serve not serving their country but only serving their party. As long as this is what our elected officials persist in doing we will continue to see a jobless recovery with blame being laid at the President’s feet!

  2. foo

    So is this for jobs problem or a work problem?

  3. Jeff Simpson

    Why do you hate the WIComeback?

  4. Steve Austin

    I see that Canada is now going to do massively long pipeline themselves through their country rather than the Exel pipeline in the US. Another Obama jobs and energy independence fail.

Pin It on Pinterest