The Campaign Spot

Will We Ever See 65 Percent Workforce Participation Again?

Another “meh” jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning, with the unemployment rate at 7.8 percent.

The workforce participation rate among those age 16 and older was 65.7 percent in January 2009, when President Obama took office. Now it is 63.6 percent.

The highest level in the past ten years was 66.8 percent in February 2002 (and it remained between that and 65.8 for the entirety of the Bush years); its peak since Obama took office was in 65.8 percent in February 2009; its lowest point was in August of last year, when it hit 63.5 percent. It has not been 64 percent since 2011.

Some of that figure represents the retiring aging baby boomers, but a large portion of it represents folks who have simply dropped out of the workforce — not employed, and no longer looking.


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