Having a new baby in my house is putting a serious crimp on my blog reading. But anyway, I came across this from Macroblog on labor force participation. I thought it was first rate analysis, as per usual from that first rate blog. I won't rehash it here, you should go to his site and give him more hits.
A couple random thoughts on the subject:
- We have to accept that the labor force participation rate will be declining over the next couple decades. The aging population assures this, I think. We should not misinterpret this as despondent workers or general economic weakness.
- The declining labor participation of teenagers is logical to me. If more are in school, fewer are working. I don't know how the DOL counts part-time employees.
- Some of the long-term trends that resulted in greater labor force participation in the last 2-3 decades or so are probably ending. For example, David's graphs show greater participation among the 55+ group, which likely reflects improved health of older workers. But that trend can't continue indefinitely. We aren't headed for a future where 80-year olds are a major part of the labor force. At least not soon.
- Also in the 1960's and 1970's, the participation of women greatly increased, but this appears to have leveled off.
But what are the consequences for interest rates? Beats me.