By John Sykes
Businessinsider.com points out:
The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent in April, but investors are quick to point out that much of this decline could be generated by a drop in labor force participation, not true jobs growth.
In fact, labor force participation hit 63.6 percent in April, down from 63.8 percent in March. That's the lowest rate since 1981.
Why the chart’s steep rise from the 1950s through the 1980s? The answer came in The Incredible Shrinking Labor Force:
… Between 1960 and 2000, the labor force in the United States surged from 59 percent to a peak of 67.3 percent. This was largely due to the fact that more women were entering the labor force, while improvements in health and IT technology allowed Americans to work more years.
What’s really ominous is the drop since the turn of the century and expectations that both the recession and the retirement of baby boomers will force the down trend to continue. This will cause even more trials and tribulations for working Americans. A double whammy of declining wages and rising prices looms.
Worse yet, nobody is yet talking much about the possibility that our 100 year leftward slide has caused structural economic damage that only makes the picture more dismal and less reversible.
So don’t let the Obamians tell you how much rosier things are getting…