Chart of Labor Force Participation Rate from January 1948 to August 2021

Chart of Labor Force Participation Rate from January 1948 to August 2021

The chart below shows that while economic conditions have been improving, the labor force has been slower to rebound.  The participation rate has fallen from above 67% in 2000 to under 63% in 2019.  Of course, the effects of the pandemic are noticeable as more than 8 million workers left the labor force between February and May 2020.

There are various demographic reasons for the decline in the labor force. One being that the workforce has aged in recent decades, so the average participation rate has consistently declined.  A person leaving the labor force to retire adds to the total decline, or reflects that there is currently a weak labor market.

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