Labor Force Participation Gaps Closing

Who’s on the Sidelines

There’s too much potential on the sidelines, and we want that potential put to work. – Bob Funk, CEO of Express

Janis Petrini, Express Employment Professionals franchise owner in Grand Rapids, Michigan, said there’s never been a better time to be hunting for a job. In fact, Petrini is expending even more effort than usual to bring new people into the workforce because the demand for workers far exceeds the supply.

Ten years after the Great Recession, a higher percentage of Americans are on the sidelines and not in the workforce, compared to pre-recession levels. But with low unemployment rates today, the key to continued economic growth will be getting more Americans off the sidelines and into the workforce.

Who’s In? Who’s Out?

A new analysis from Express, drawing on data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, breaks down who’s on the sidelines.

According to the latest data, women are far more likely than men to be out of the labor force. The overall U.S. labor force participation rate is 62.9 percent. The participation rate of men is 69 percent, compared to women at 57.2 percent.

White Americans’ participation rate is 62.8 percent, just under the national average, while African-Americans’ is slightly lower at 62.2 percent. As illustrated in the image, the gap between white and African-American labor force participation has narrowed since the Great Recession, in part because of recent increases in African-American labor force participation and the longer-term decline in white labor force participation.

Hispanics (of any nationality) have a higher than average participation rate of 68.2 percent.

The participation rate for prime age workers (25-54) has risen recently, but remains lower than pre-recession levels, while the participation rate for workers age 55 and over is noticeably higher, indicating delayed retirement.

Education levels correlate strongly with participation rates. Those 25 or older with a bachelor’s degree are much more likely to be in the workforce than those without a degree.

A breakdown of workforce participation by age, race, and education appears below:

What Keeps People Out? Why Are Some Jumping Back Into Work? What Are The Challenges?

Read the full article from the Source…

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