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Labor Force Participation Rates Dropping – What To Do

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1948 -2012

Earlier this month, the Wall Street Journal had an article on labor force participation rates which offers an explanation of why they have been falling and falling dramatically in the past few years.  Please read the brief article by clicking on the link below.

Click here to read the WSJ article

I have been puzzling over this same topic recently and did some research of my own and overall I agree with the article that higher amounts of people “on the dole” and out of the labor force contribute to this.  I also concur that the discouraged worker – especially the two income household has a part to play in this decrease.  Without getting too political I would have to say that if you look at the labor force participation rate going back as far as you can (1948) – shown above  we are still above or near the 60+ year average.  The graph above from the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, shows the rate going steadily up from 1948, peaking in the 90’s and leveling off and declining in the early 2000’s.  The drop off is pronounced the past few years and the reasons have been bantered about the news quite a bit. 

In my opinion, I think there are two factors in play for the reason for this pattern.  Baby boomers flooding the workforce starting in the 60’s and the Women’s movement (remember the Equal Rights Amendment etc)?  That also brought in more participation by women who were demanding and getting better (maybe not equal) pay.  Sadly we need an influx of workers to replace those baby boomers.  The baby boom is really a bad thing for us now.  The back-end of it is now killing Social Security even without our current fiscal crisis.   We knew we had a problem as far back as I can remember (the late 70’s) and never did anything about it.  See the link below to go to the Bureau Of Labor Statistics Website:

Click here to check it out

You may ask, what do I do about this and how can I adjust my business to take advantage of this situation?  I am not sure I have any answers but if we had a time travel machine maybe we could have kept our population growth more steady to avoid cycles of booms and busts.  At this point maybe we need a couple million young, hard-working immigrants every year to take the place of those retiring boomers who are retiring at a rate of 10,000 per day for the next EIGHTEEN years.  We could also ask young married couples to do their part and have more kids to take care of the back-end of that EIGHTEEN year span.  You may think that immigration is not the answer and it might not be; but it did a heck of lot of good in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s when we were slowly becoming an economic superpower.

For those who are new to my blog, I typically will post non-business blogs throughout the summer and since today is Memorial Day Summer is officially here.  Next week I will begin my summer schedule.  I will probably post a business topic or two before Labor Day marks the end of summer as ideas come to mind. 

Enjoy your summer and for those young married couples – get busy fixing the baby boomer problem.  Do you part for your country.


Written by pacelinebiz

May 28, 2012 at 10:04 am

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