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The labor participation rate is declining because of insufficient job growth. Why? Older Americans are working at a much higher rate than they used to. It's younger and middle-aged Americans who are not working at high enough rates. 

Here's some data, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

2000

2014

Employed Full Time Workers, 65+

1.3 million

3.7 million

Civilian Labor Force, 65+

4.2 million

8.4 million 

% Working

30.1%

44.0%

The data concludes that there is an increase in those working in the 65+ group by 2.4 million. They aren't retiring -- they are still working. The population in this group grew 4.2 million.

 

2000

2014

Employed Full Time Workers, 55-to-64

9.6 million

17.6 million

Total Population, 55-to-64

23.8 million

40.2 million 

% Working

40.3%

43.7%

Those working in the 55-to-64 group increased by 8 million, while their population increased by 16.4 million. We are aging and working longer. 

 

2000

2014

Total Employed Full Time Workers, 25-to-54

78.3 million

75.6 million

Total Working Age Poluation, 25-to-54

120.6 million

124.5 million

% Working

64.9%

60.7%

The 25-to-54 age group lost 2.7 million jobs. Early Retirement? The population of this group grew by 3.9 million.

 

2000

2014

Total Employed Full Time Workers, 16-to-24

11.8 million

9.5 million

Total Working Age Population, 15-to-24

34.2 million

38.7 million

% Working

34.5%

24.5%

The working population in the 16-24 group declined by 2.3 million. Perhaps this is the generation that doesn't believe in working full time. Their population increased by 4.5 million.

Yes, the demographics are shifting. People are not retiring, but they often can't find work.

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