By: Julie Heath
The news about the labor market continues to be a mixed bag. The headlines have told us for quite some time that young workers are struggling to find full-time—or any—employment; that although long-term unemployment is dropping slightly, it remains a significant issue for many Americans; that while the unemployment rate has fallen slightly, large numbers of people have simply dropped out of the labor force. Of particular concern is the drop in the labor force participation rate. At 63.2 percent, it is the lowest it has been in 35 years. The exception to this trend is the labor market experience of older workers.
These increases in participation rates have important public policy implications. For example, one of the fixes for Social Security being discussed is to raise the age at which full retirement benefits can be collected.