What year was the labor force participation rate last at current levels?
First, the most recent read of the labor force participation rate at the Dec. 6 release of the November figure showed 63%, slightly higher than the October read of 62.8%.
This figure reached to a low of 58.1% in December 1954 and bumped around 58.5%-60% until 1964 when the measure pushed nearly uninterrupted to 67.3% in January 2000. In the last 13 years, this employment measure has retraced nearly half of that 46 year run.
Answer: the Participation Rate was last at 63% in 1978 (Dire Straits-‘Sultans of Swing’; Rolling Stones-‘Shattered’)
Bonus Question: Where is the next 2 points in the Participation Rate? Can the participation rate reach down to 61% or will it return to 65% and why? We would like to hear your thoughts on this.
The BLS has a December 2013 Monthly Labor Review update on their view that by 2022, the rate will fall to 61.6% with slower employment and population growth.