Teresa Pierce: Workforce Connections | Company

US employers added 390,000 jobs in May as the labor market continued to defy high inflation, persistent labor shortages and rising interest rates. The jobless rate was unchanged at 3.6%, just above a 50-year low, the Labor Department said Friday.

The country has recovered 21.2 million, or 96.2%, of the 22 million jobs lost at the start of the health crisis, leaving it 822,000 jobs below its pre-pandemic level. The gap could be closed by the summer.

Participation in the labor market

One of the key data points tracked by federal and state economists to assess labor force activity is the labor force participation rate. This month, we’ll dive deeper into that metric.

What is that? The labor force participation rate reflects the percentage of a country’s or state’s working-age population that is actively engaging in the labor market, either working or looking for work. It gives an indication of the size of the labor supply available to engage in the production of goods and services, relative to the working-age population.

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How is it determined? The rate is calculated by dividing the number of employed and unemployed (civilian) persons by the total number of persons aged 16 and over to obtain a percentage of total labor force participation. Categories of people who do not meet the definition of “labour market participant” but who are included in the total population are stay-at-home parents, retired people, institutionalized people, students and those who are not actively looking for work. work.

Why is this important? The participation rate is an important metric to use when analyzing employment and unemployment data because it measures the number of people who are actively seeking employment as well as those who are currently employed.

What are the main drivers? Labor market participation varies according to the demographic characteristics of the population, such as gender, year of birth, education, marital status and the presence of young children at home.

The information below provides an overview of the rise and fall of Wisconsin’s labor force participation rate over the past 45 years. In April 2022, the rate in Wisconsin was 66.5%. In January 1976, the rate was 65.6%. Over the next 45 years, the rate peaked in December 1997 at 74.5% and has been falling ever since.

What is responsible for the decline in participation since 2000? According to the Department of Labor, from 2000 to 2015, the decline in participation occurred across most major demographic groups.

Teenagers experienced the largest decline in participation, which coincided with an increase in their enrollment rate. Yet the labor force participation rates of adolescents enrolled and not enrolled in school have fallen since 2000.

  • Adults aged 20 to 24 showed less of a decline in labor force participation than teenagers. The young adults least likely to participate in the labor market were those without a high school diploma, especially young women, especially mothers.
  • The labor force participation of women aged 25 to 54 also declined from 2000 to 2015. This decline was more pronounced among women who did not attend college. Women with a college degree experienced a much smaller reduction in labor force participation. Since 2000, the labor market participation of mothers with children under 18 has declined; declines were greater among less educated mothers.
  • The labor force participation of men aged 25 to 54 continued to decline from 2000 to 2015. The drop in participation of less educated men was greater than that of more educated men.
  • The labor market participation of men and women aged 55 and over increased from 2000 to 2009, then leveled off. This plateau could be attributed in part to the fact that the oldest baby boomers turned 62 in 2008 and became eligible for Social Security retirement benefits.
  • Knowing who is in the workforce and who is not is key to developing ways to ensure that the workforce development system is trying to reach these populations to reintegrate them into the workforce and to encourage companies to reach out to these populations.

If you would like to know more about Labor Market Information, please click on the “request help” button on our website at http://www.workforceconnections.org/request-services.html or contact Workforce Connections, Inc. at 608-785. -9938.

Teresa Pierce is Executive Director of Workforce Connections.

Michael A. Bynum