View Full Version : Jobless claims at lowest level since April '08

04-05-2012, 05:52 PM
Jobless claims at lowest level since April '08
By Steve Benen - Thu Apr 5, 2012 8:43 AM EDT
Maddow Blog (http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/05/11034604-jobless-claims-at-lowest-level-since-april-08)

The general trend on initial unemployment claims over the last few months has been largely encouraging, and today's report (http://www.dol.gov/opa/media/press/eta/ui/eta20120617.htm) offers additional good news.

In fact, the new figures (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-weekly-jobless-claims-fall-to-357000-2012-04-05-830150) are the best since April 2008, and even exceeded positive expectations.

The number of Americans who filed requests for jobless benefits fell by 6,000 last week to 357,000, the U.S. Labor Department said Thursday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had projected claims would total 360,000, seasonally adjusted, in the week ended March 31. Claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 363,000 from 359,000. The average of new-benefit applications over the past four weeks, meanwhile, dropped by 4,250 to 361,750.

Despite last week's annual revisions, the same metrics still apply: when jobless claims fall below the 400,000 threshold, it's considered evidence of an improving jobs landscape, and when the number drops below 370,000, it suggests jobs are actually being created rather quickly.

And with that, here's the chart -- which reflects the revised, seasonably-adjusted data -- showing weekly, initial unemployment claims going back to the beginning of 2007. (Remember, unlike the monthly jobs chart, a lower number is good news.) For context, I've added an arrow to show the point at which President Obama's Recovery Act began spending money.

https://fbcdn-sphotos-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash3/551302_10150645062005885_550735884_9339208_1732179 163_n.jpg

04-06-2012, 04:08 AM
But an applied sciences degree does not seem to be a guarantee of a job, according to statistics from the HBO council. Six percent of the graduates from fulltime degree programmes are still jobless after one and a half years. That is considerably more than in the years preceding the credit crisis, when only three to four percent couldn't find a job. The good news is that the situation has not worsened since last year.

Surprisingly, more economists seem to be out of work (7.8 percent) than artists (6.1 percent). Unemployment is lowest among applied sciences graduates in health care: 2.7 percent.

04-06-2012, 04:09 AM

The recession is even hitting people who study recessions. Economists and financial researchers are having a tough time finding jobs, although a newly launched Web site wants to help them.

Kirk Siegler of member station KUNC has more.

KIRK SIEGLER: Tom Beers says he started econjobs.org because there wasn't really an aggregated Web site that helps economists themselves find jobs.

TOM BEERS: You know, you can go to monster.com and type in economics and you'll pull up a couple hundred jobs here, and then you can go to Craigslist and pull up some jobs there, but really, it could take all day.

SIEGLER: Beers says the new site tries to pull all these positions together for job seekers and potential employers. Beers is executive director of the National Association for Business Economics which is behind the site.

He says the other problem is that these days, so many people who are doing economics-related jobs don't always call themselves economists. You have risk managers, risk analysts, research directors. And Beers says just like everyone else, they're finding this job market tumultuous.

BEERS: So yes, the timing isn't great to launch a job board. But on the other hand, I think it really is crucial to launch this now so that our members who are in a tight spot or are looking for jobs, you know, we're helping them out and easing that search a little bit.

SIEGLER: Beers also concedes there aren't nearly as many economist jobs today as there were five years ego, but econjobs.org does currently list more than a thousand open positions across the country.

For NPR News, I'm Kirk Siegler in Denver.

04-06-2012, 05:11 AM
What happens in this kind of economic climate is that more people are taken on by employers on a daily basis, no contracts.


04-06-2012, 08:08 AM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Jobless claims at lowest level since April '08</div></div>Sounds good but then that just means not all angles are being looked at. One reason is that there just aren't as many jobs to cut and employment is nearing an equilibrium. Hopefully corporate America is done "right-sizing".


04-06-2012, 10:21 AM
I've not seen many mention this, but the workforce is demographically shrinking from the boomers' retirement, quite separately from discouraged workers' quitting looking, etc.

The reported need for new jobs monthly as younger people reach job market age I've seen said to be between 90,000 a month and 120,000 a month. That's said all the time, all around.

Nobody mentions in this regard that 10,000 a DAY are reaching the age of 65 (= 300,000 a month), or that 75% of people reaching 62 take the early retirement option.

So the next time someone points at the adult workforce participation rate's going down, and find that they do not mention this demographic shift, or in any way specify the 'under-65' adults only, they are misleading you, or misled themselves.

04-07-2012, 12:06 PM
The truth: The unemployment rate drops to 8.2% for one simple reason: the number of people not in the labor force is back to all time highs: 87,897,000.

The truth?....Yes, but will it matter to the unable and unwilling? J

“The average citizen is the world’s most efficient censor. His own mind is the greatest barrier between him and the facts. His own ‘logic proof compartments,’ his own absolutism are the obstacles which prevent him from seeing in terms of experience and thought rather than in terms of group reaction.”

Bernays, Crystallizing Public Opinion

04-07-2012, 12:33 PM
True, but the workforce is shrinking by demographic trends, which I just mentioned.

There were 3.6 million in 2011 reaching the age of 65. There are 3.6 million this year reaching 65. This continues to be the case every year for the next 29 years or so, iirc.

They hide this fact by referring to 'percentage of ADULTS' in the workforce, when the reference standard ought to be 'adults of work age,' meaning, say, 18-64, or 21-64, something like that. And I have never seen that workforce participation percentage quoted relative to excluding the elderly or retired, which is on its way to doubling.

That doesn't include how many of the age of students decide not to enter the workforce, although of age to do so, by choosing to stay in school, another considerable number.

04-07-2012, 12:46 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Soflasnapper</div><div class="ubbcode-body">True, but the workforce is shrinking by demographic trends, which I just mentioned.

There were 3.6 million in 2011 reaching the age of 65. There are 3.6 million this year reaching 65. This continues to be the case every year for the next 29 years or so, iirc.

They hide this fact by referring to 'percentage of ADULTS' in the workforce, when the reference standard ought to be 'adults of work age,' meaning, say, 18-64, or 21-64, something like that. And I have never seen that workforce participation percentage quoted relative to excluding the elderly or retired, which is on its way to doubling.

That doesn't include how many of the age of students decide not to enter the workforce, although of age to do so, by choosing to stay in school, another considerable number. </div></div>

That certainly may play a role in the overall equation, but if you follow the reported drop off of people on extended benefits, it tells of a more accurate and revealing trend. That is: that the benefits of eligible workers on extended benefits have been expiring, and those eligible workers are the one's that are leaving the "workforce" and lowering the official unemployment rate...which is also fudged by the meaningless, fantasy, birth/death rate, seasonal adjustments, and other propaganda and lies.

Reality, itself, denies that recovery fantasy.


04-07-2012, 08:17 PM
All of those are relevant caveats, but only accurately so when quantified. A quantification that is sorely lacking, except for... (blowing my own horn)... the likely subtraction of 3.6 million elderly people a year which is stone-cold fact for 2011, 2012, 2013, and many years to come. (I say likely, as it is more complicated, considering that people reaching retirement age may continue attachment to the workforce out of necessity or personal interest, AND that 3/4rs of them had ALREADY taken early retirement as of age 62 (although still could be working thereafter).

So I do take cognizance of your several quibble points, and they are significant issues, but I believe they are DWARFED by what I mention, and for which no one who brings up the factors you mention has yet been able to demonstrate are at a comparable level of impact.

Oddly, there is the HOUSEHOLD SURVEY method of determining workforce participation, new hires, etc., contrasting with the ESTABLISHMENT SURVEY you rightly mention is subject to the birth/death model (which may work adequately in normal times, or not, but may not work in this environment). Well, its existence isn't odd, but its DIFFERENCE from the establishment survey is, and that has been running about 100,000 ahead in each reporting period, for an accumulative difference on that measure of some 800,000 more alleged jobs created.

It is hard to get an accurate picture with crappy statistics and methods, so to some degree this is guesswork. Except for the stubborn fact of 10,000 boomers reaching 65 each and every day of the year last year, this year, and etc.

04-09-2012, 06:43 AM
Labor participation rate = "quibble point" = selective analysis. IMO. The retirement of the 65 year olds was most likely a more significant dynamic with respect to labor statistics when they actually had well paying jobs with intact retirement benefits and a 6-plus % yield on their savings accounts than it currently is. A factor? Certainly, but definitely not the most significant factor currently driving the labor participation rate decrease. With enough work, one can usually find the correct combination of irrelevant, misleading, and exaggerated numbers to support whatever position they wish to back into. /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/whistle.gif The drop off in emergency/extended benefits correlates well with the decreasing unemployment rate, and the chart below speaks for itself. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWcpIDDTt6M J.

<span style="color: #CC0000">Don't Show This Chart To The President (or Soflasnapper)</span>

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 04/09/2012 07:55 -0400

One can write lengthy essays, op-eds, and client letters explaining both why the labor force participation rate is plunging due to innocuous reasons such as everyone over 40 retiring yesterday full of jouissance and excitement to begin the sunset phase of their lives using copious life savings earning 0.0001% in interest, or, inversely, why this is one great big propaganda ploy by the BLS to make Obama look good a few short months ahead of the pre-election debt ceiling breach, pardon, his re-election date. We prefer cutting to the chase. Here is today's chart of the day from BofA, which begs one simple question: when will the two time series recouple, because recouple they will, and how will America react to the realization it was lied to for 2% worth of unemployment "improvement"? The chart says it all.


04-09-2012, 02:17 PM
A serious discussion would not include the fallacious reductio ad absurdum claim that it is 40 year olds naturally retiring on their luxurious 0.5% returns on saving (as what the other side must be claiming). Nobody is making that straw man argument.

Rather, this is the observation of the age-breakout of the workforce that is really the claim.


This is from this discussion (http://danielamerman.com/articles/2012/WorkB.html) from a Daniel Amerman, CFA, in the second of a two-part paper, which mainly agrees with your position overall.

However, note several things here. The 16-55 group has declined slightly from 2007 (by 17,000), even as the work age population (16-death, as there appears to be no cut off of the aged whatsoever unless they are institutionalized) has gone up by 10.4 million people. Additionally, the prime 25-54 age group actually shrank by 1.3 million, meaning the difference of the numbers, 1.2+ million, represent the increase over those years in the far less employable and less employed 16-24 age cohort. All the growth in the work age population has occurred in the 55+ group.

Author's discussion:

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">An Aging Population & Shifting Age Buckets

One way of thinking about workforces and participation rates is as a series of buckets based on age. As a year-class (say those who graduated from high school in 1970) ages, they pass through this series of buckets, and their participation in the labor force changes depending on which age bucket they are in at the time.

Historically and with a normal economy, the participation rate sharply rises between ages 16-24 as people steadily move from the schools to the workforce, and the full adult participation rate of around 83% is reached by about the mid 20s. This peak rate stays in a fairly narrow range for about 30 years, and then as people reach the latter half of their 50s, a significant decline in participation begins that accelerates through the 60s until only 10% of the population is still in the workforce at age 75 and beyond.


As shown in the table above, between 2007 and January of 2012, the number of people over the age of 55 grew by 10.4 million, and the number of people aged 16-54 shrank by 17,000. Because we now have 10.4 million people who have moved along to older age "buckets" where we normally have falling participation in the workforce - the average participation rate should be falling, all else being equal (the adverse developments with retirement investment accounts and interest income, however, mean that not all else is equal).

To find out how much changing ages should have changed participation, we pour into each age "bucket" the appropriate number of people for early 2012, and find out what would have happened if the government had held the participation rate for each bucket constant at 2007 levels.

When we do this, we get what is shown in the line "Expected Age Related Workforce Change". <span style='font-size: 14pt'>When we compare 2007 to 2012, then in a normal economy we would have expected a reduction in workforce participation of about 2.7 million people, with the aging Boomers and their parents removing about 2.5 million people from the workforce, and the changing age composition of the younger than 55 population should have removed another 150 thousand people (the prime 25-54 age group actually shrank by 1.3 million, and were replaced by less likely to be employed 16-24 year olds).</span></div></div>

04-09-2012, 09:21 PM
<span style="color: #CC0000">Unemployment Numbers Are for Dummies</span>
Posted on 7 April 2012 by Steven Hansen

When the BLS unemployment numbers “improved” to 8.2% on Friday, I thought enough is enough. Come on boys and girls, yah gotta be smarter than to believe this garbage! Nothing in the world of logic or specific data point in the BLS database supports ANY drop in the unemployment rate this month.

Literally half of the drop in the unemployment rate over the last year is due to shrinking the size of the workforce – in other words unemployed are no longer being counted as they are removed from the workforce.

Bad decisions are made when understanding is obfuscated. Is unemployment falling – generally yes, but specifically this month – NO. The size of unemployment is not correctly understood because of silly definitions and moveable baselines which prevent comparative analysis to other periods of time.

There are a variety of reasons exact understanding of unemployment is necessary. The primary reason for me is understanding economic slack. A large unemployed population puts downward pressure on wages, and it is an economic pulse point.

Consider that the primary purpose of an unemployment metric is to visualize the number of people who would like to have a job who do not have one.

The problem begins with who is defined as unemployed. Per the BLS.

Persons are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work. Actively looking for work may consist of any of the following activities:

An employer directly or having a job interview
A public or private employment agency
Friends or relatives
A school or university employment center
Sending out resumes or filling out applications
Placing or answering advertisements
Some other means of active job search
Checking union or professional registers

If not receiving unemployment benefits, you stop looking for a job if your home area is short jobs. There are many regions of the country which are short jobs and it is a wasted effort to look. This happens to many couples when only one loses a job – and the other still has a good job. Even though I believe any person without a job is unemployed, the definition of unemployment is not my primary concern with unemployment numbers.

The unemployment data is obtained by sampling – approximately 60,000 households and 110,000 individuals. I have no real concerns with good sampling (even though I ponder who polls the people who have dropped out of society which seems to be growing).

My problem is what is done with the survey results. By definition percentages are a fraction of a “whole”. The “whole”, in unemployment, is the ESTIMATED size of the workforce.


From the red line in the graphic above, you can see that the workforce as defined by the BLS has essentially stopped growing since the recession. In the history of the BLS data base, this has never happened until now. Strange? Have a growing percentage of American’s all of a sudden dropped out of the workforce?

Using 2009 workforce to Civilian Population (over 16) ratios, 5.5 million Americans have disappeared from the workforce through the end of March 2012 – and therefore are not being counted as unemployed either.


The magic in the continually improving unemployment rate is to shrink the size of the workforce. The real unemployment statistics for context:

Currently 63.1% of the civilian population over 16 is employed – it was 64.0% one year ago, and the trend remains down.

In normal economic times , 66% of the civilian population over 16 is employed.

The number of people unemployed have changed little since October 2011 – yet the unemployment rate continues to fall.

There are currently 12.9 million unemployed according the the BLS – and likely this number should be 18 million. If one returns the 5.5 million to both the workforce and the unemployed, the unemployment rate is 11.5% using the current method of dividing the number of unemployed by the size of the workforce.

The civilian population over 16 is provided by US Census. There are no backward revisions each month. Unemployed is simply subtracting employed from the population.

This is my primary issue with the unemployment numbers. Anyone who is responsible for directing real work knows that an extrapolated estimated number divided by another extrapolated estimated number is garbage. This is how the headline unemployment rate is derived.

04-10-2012, 10:16 AM
What is missing from the analysis you've copied here?

Oh, right, any mention of the shift in demographics, as if the demographics were uniform, or as if demographics played no part in who was in the workforce. But the demographics did change, and they do play a part of who is likely to be, and is in, the workforce. So I consider the analysis far from complete, and misleading.

To briefly repeat myself from above, from '07-'12, the peak at work demographic, 25-55, shrunk by 1.3 million. The lower age group of the possibly employed, 16-24 year olds, picked up most of the difference, but still left the 16-55 total number down 17,000. And the older cohort, where IF you are laid off or downsized or fired, it is very hard to regain any job, and basically impossible to get the same pay level, meaning you have to take a part-time job, or one that pays far less, grew over 10 million. Which is part of the phenomena of 3.6 million a year turning 65, who've had to have turned 55 10 years ago.

So the upshot is that although there are 1.2+ million more 'beginner' workers, there are 1.3 million less the more mature and higher percentage workers, and over 10 million more 5-year AARP eligible workers close to retirement age. This would AUTOMATICALLY reduce the workforce participation by the factor by which the very youngest, and the older, already worked at a lower participation rate than the core middle group (under historical guidelines).

Bottom line, yes the workforce IS SHRINKING, and will continue to shrink, from these factors alone. As the cited number said, there would be 2.55 million less jobs from these changes if the 2007 workforce participation rates remained the same as they were.

Does Steven Hansen know that? (If he doesn't he is just a bit incompetent to analyze this properly). Does he MENTION it? Not that I noticed.

But, doesn't the job situation exacerbate this already existing trend? Of course, and obviously so. What I'm saying is that in addition to the lowered participation rates from discouragement, etc., the demo changes are doing such a non-trivial role in addition to that, so that they create as much or more in the year-over-year changes in UE rates than the continuing lowered job market participation rates.

I take the claim that the UE drops are phony is that they are all due to more discouraged workers dropping out of the workforce. What I've found states that if the discouraged workers are instead included in the UE rate, they amount to the equivalent of a 0.5% increase in the UE rate, during economic contractionary times, and under half that amount in expansionary economic times. Wherever in that range they are now (and I think one of the U-x measures includes them?), comparing the year-over-year measures would show only marginal changes in that metric, whereas the demographic changes are most significant.

The over 55 year old population grew 3.65 million this year over last and last year over the prior year as well, and in that group, the 65+ year old cohort also increase 3.65 millions each of those years. To do the simple addition, in the last two years, 7.3 million people aged out of the prime work age beyond 55, and 7.3 million different extra people aged up to full SS retirement age of 65.

By Hansen's omission to consider these undeniable facts, I guess he's saying so what, what possible difference in workforce participation would that create? More than a zero effect, I'm sure you agree. I'd say more, that it accounts for most of the workforce shrinkage.

This guy's mention of those facts? MIA. Are those small numbers? Hell no.

04-10-2012, 11:54 AM
Personally, I am not married to any specific position nor is my interest political, that said I'll repeat my acknowledgement that while an aging workforce does have a natural tendency to "retire" from the workforce, I believe that current economic realities are actually causing many who would prefer retiring to rethink that desire only to become just another "workforce dropout".

My entire point here is that actual employment is not improving in spite of the highly touted lowered unemployment rate, instead the labor participation rate is being reduced which skewers the headline unemployment rate. I attribute this to the fact that extended/emergency (99 weeks)recipients who's benefits are expiring are dropping off the unemployment rolls and unwillingly out of the workforce, whereas you believe that the drop-off is mostly attributed to the normal retirement (aging) cycle.

These are far from normal times, and in order to assume that the roll off from extended/emergency benefits, which is regularly published by the BLS, is caused mainly by the normal retirement of seniors of retirement age, I would have to also assume that the vast majority of those receiving these benefits were in the normal retirement age category. I find no way of establishing that possibility as fact, and quite frankly I find no reason to even assume that it is a reasonable avenue to pursue.

There is little, if any, doubt that the aging America demographic has/is/will cause a trending workforce reduction, that had been documented and acknowledged long before this economic depression fully bloomed, and it is, in fact, in play. But what is currently the main, driving, force behind the recent lower unemployment headline numbers is the workforce reduction, labor participation rate, caused by the ending, and thus the rolling off, of extended/emergency unemployment benefits.

Enjoyed the discussion, but have to politely excuse myself...I have an important match this evening. Thanks.


04-10-2012, 04:41 PM
Heh! See you then!

Not that you're seeing this soon, but here are some of the numbers for the cohorts you address:

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> The job market is admittedly improving for some, but it's not improving quickly enough for millions of jobless, especially the long-term unemployed. In April, the ranks of the unemployed who have been out of work for 99 weeks or more increased by 21,000 to a record 1,920,000. That equates to 14.5% of all unemployed.

[Raising the question I've wondered about: if you exceed the 99 week UE benefit, aren't you out of benefits, and therefore, technically considered no longer unemployed? That is, out of the workforce? I think that's true.]

Other long-term unemployed fared a little better in April compared to March. Those out of work for 26 weeks or more decreased from 5.839 million from 6.122 million in March. But their percentage of the overall unemployment rate remained elevated at a near record level of 43.2%. The percentage of those out of work for more and 52 weeks increased from 31.5% to 32.8% of all unemployed.

The Congress, the Obama administration and most media outlets are silent about long-term unemployment. How do they reconcile the fact that 244,000 jobs were created, but 21,000 additional workers have been unemployed for more than 99 weeks? How do they put on a happy face when a near record 5.893 million or 43.2% of all unemployed workers have been jobless for more than 26 weeks?</div></div>

From this last statement, 56.8% of the unemployed have been unemployed for less than 26 weeks.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> How do they high-five the economic recovery when the labor force participation rate -- the share of people over age 16 who are either working or actively seeking work -- is at a low rate of 64.2%, a rate not seen since 1985? They can't. They generally ignore the issue; long-term unemployment is the elephant in the economic recovery room.</div></div>

1985? That was a couple of years into a strong recovery, enough that in '84, the winning campaign motto was 'It's morning again in America,' meaning we'd turned the economic corner in a very obvious way. So, getting back to that labor force participation rate is a disaster, per se?

Some of this ebb and flow in the workforce participation rate explains itself. As jobs become more plentiful, qualified workers become more scarce (as UE comes down), driving up wages on a labor supply/demand curve, and tempting those who might otherwise not work, to enter the job market to seek work. However, if the job market is poor, lots of unemployed, to where a McDonald's in California had greater selectivity in choosing whom to offer jobs than Ivy League colleges have in choosing matriculating freshmen, then wages are depressed, jobs become less worthwhile, and people do NOT decide that is the time to enter the job force. In fact, some in the workforce who become unemployed give up looking.

We easily notice the latter, but forget about the former. It's somewhat similar to the house 'owner' fraction of the population. Sure, it's down, although from record levels. Fact was, however, that some fraction of those who used to 'own' had no business trying to buy a house, perhaps at all, but certainly at the prices that had been achieved in that bubble runup.

04-11-2012, 01:33 PM
Finally found a quantification of the effects of the demographic shifts.

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"><span style='font-size: 14pt'>Chicago Fed Economists: "Shifting Demographics" Are Responsible For "Just Under Half Of The Decline."</span> From Daniel Aaronson, Jonathan Davis, and Luojia Hu, writing in the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's Chicago Fed Letter:

Labor force participation has fallen significantly over the past decade. At least some of this decline is due to the recent deep recession and lackluster recovery. Additionally, for quite some time, economists have forecasted that shifting demographics, particularly in the age structure of the population, would put downward pressure on labor force activity. We estimate that just under half of the decline in LFPR since 2000 is due to such factors. We expect these demographic patterns to continue for at least the next decade, and likely far beyond, as the large baby boom cohort continues the transition into retirement. Therefore, standard labor market measures used to compute gaps in resource utilization, such as the employment-to-population ratio and the LFPR, should reflect these long-running patterns. [ChicagoFed.org, March 2012]

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> <span style='font-size: 14pt'>Analysts Say Demographics Are To Blame For Long-Term Decline In Labor Force Participation ...

BLS: Participation In The Labor Force Peaked In 2000 And Has Been Decreasing Since Then.</span> From an article by economist Mitra Toossi in the Bureau of Labor Statistics publication Monthly Labor Review:

The slower growth of the labor force is primarily the result of a slower rate of growth in the U.S. population and a noticeable decrease in the labor force participation rate. The civilian noninstitutional population 16 years and older had an annual growth rate of 1.1 percent from 2000 to 2010, but is projected to grow by a lesser 1.0 percent during 2010-2020. (See table 2.) In addition, the labor force participation rate started a downward trend in 2000, and the decrease accelerated during the 2007-2009 recession and its aftermath. As a result, the labor force participation rate declined by 2.4 percentage points over the 2000-2010 period and is projected to drop by another 2.2 percentage points between 2010 and 2020. These two declining factors lead to a projected annual growth rate of only 0.7 percent for the labor force from 2010 to 2020, a 0.1-percent drop from the annual growth rate exhibited in the 2000-2010 timeframe. [BLS.gov, January 2012 (emphasis added)]

Of the theoretically able to work persons out of the workforce, just under 2/3rds do not want to work at this time:

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> ... And Most People Who Are "Not In The Labor Force" Don't Want A Job

BLS: Number Of Americans Who Are Not In The Labor Force And "Currently Want A Job" Is 6.2 Million -- 7.2 Percent Of The Total. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' March 2012 Employment Situation news release, approximately 6.25 million workers are counted as being both "Not in the labor force" and as "Persons who currently want a job." This represents approximately 7.2 percent of the total number of Americans who are counted as not being in the labor force. [Table A-16, BLS.gov, 4/6/12]

Wash. Post: 65 Percent Of Those Who've Left The Labor Force Since 2007 "Don't Want A Job." Citing survey data from Barclays, Brad Plumer of The Washington Post's Wonkblog wrote:

About 35 percent of the people who have dropped out of the labor force since the recession began in 2007 do want a job, but they've become too discouraged to fire off resumes. That's not good. The other 65 percent are people who have left the labor force and don't want a job. Some of them are young and perhaps decided to go back to school. But the biggest chunk, by far, seems to be composed of Baby Boomers who have decided to retire early. [Washington Post, 4/8/12]

Discussion with links to original docs, here. (http://mediamatters.org/research/201204090014?newsref=www.eschatonblog.com)