Trends in Labor Force Participation in the United States

Source: Abraham Mosisa and Steven Hipple, Monthly Labor Review, Vol. 129 no. 10, October 2006

After a long-term increase, the overall labor force participation rate has declined in recent years. Although there was a sharp rise in participation among individuals aged 55 years and older, this increase did not offset declines in the participation rates of younger persons. Using labor force estimates from the Current Population Survey (CPS), this article analyzes historical trends in labor force participation, focusing primarily on recent trends. The analysis highlights changes in labor force participation among various demographic groups, discusses possible reasons for those changes, and explains how the changes affected the overall participation rate.

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