Welcome Back, Carter! Labor Participation Drops to 1978 Levels.

The unemployment rate may have ticked back up to 7.3
, partially reflecting furloughed federal workers, but
more concerning is that the share of the population actively
looking for work dropped to Carter-era levels. That’s right, the
participation rate
in October was down to 62.8 percent, a rate
that hasn’t been seen since March of 1978.

Labor participation rate

I doubt that anybody has a full explanation as to why
labor participation is on such an impressive downward streak,
reflecting Americans effectively dropping out of the workforce.
(PDF) have been fingered as a contributing factor, but

some research
shows the old hippies hanging on to their jobs by
their fingernails, even as younger workers disproportionately drop
out. A Cato Institute
study released in August
suggests that, with the weak job
market, some efforts to cushion the blow of the lousy economy are
actually counter-productive because “The current welfare system
provides such a high level of benefits that it acts as a
disincentive for work.” Taking benefits may be a tad more
attractive than trying to assemble a couple of

part-time gigs
into a living.

Whatever the explanation, welcome back, Carter.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/11/12/welcome-back-carter-labor-participation

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