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Saturday, October 4, 2014

Labor Market Update: little bad news, but no acceleration

I post below a series of graphs on the US labor market updated through September 2014. As I read it, the latest CES (Current Employment Survey) and CPS (Current Population Survey) releases from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show more of the same – job growth a bit above population growth, little bad news, but no hint of an acceleration in the economy that might soak up what I estimate to be a 7.6 million shortfall in total employment, and 8.7 million gap if we subtract the rise in those working involuntary short hours. All this is calculated correcting for demographic effects including baby boomer retirement. As the graphs indicate, there's been no drop in participation by older Americans; the brunt of our recession was born by prime-age workers and especially new school leavers.
Changes in Basic "Headline" Employment Number
Changes in Employment less those working involuntary short hours
Jobs Shortfall relative to demographics-corrected normal level
How long until we return to normal??
Total U + Discouraged + Short Hours Remains at Historic High
Drop in Employment Levels Was Younger and Prime Workers
Participation by Older Workers Has Risen
Before the Recession those 55-59 stayed in the LF longer, so some evidence of early retirements