Radio Podcast: Workers Drop Out of the Labor Market

I was on Minnesota Public Radio this week with journalist Heidi Moore to provide some context on jobs and the state of the American economy. Listen to the full show at the player below.

A few of the highlights from MPR:

The unemployment rate and number of jobs added are often used as reference points for the state of the economy. But these numbers don't provide a clear picture of the country's economic outlook, according to journalist Heidi Moore.

The real story, Moore says, is told by the labor force participation rate, which indicates how many Americans are dropping out of the workforce and how many are currently employed. The labor force participation rate has been falling since the recession began and is now at its lowest point since 1979.

"The labor force participation rate is really a measure of potential that is lost: the intelligence and strength of Americans that goes idle because it cannot find a single profitable outlet," writes Moore. She finds fault with Congress, which has done little to address the issue, she writes: ...

[Mark] Price said ... "what you've got is a situation where employers are able to be extremely picky about who they hire for any particular opening. And that creates situations where workers slip through the cracks, and find themselves in a situation where an employer can say, 'Ah, you have a master's degree, you're overqualified for this job, I can find somebody else.'"

I also made the point that Congress has been actively cutting spending, slowing the pace of growth in the economy. That, along with state and local cuts to services, have counteracted what little legislative effort there has been to boost the economy.


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