Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Employment-Population Ratio


The rate currently stands at 58.7%. While it jumps around slightly from month to month, it has essentially been stuck there for three years -- close to the lowest level since the 1980s.

Ultimately, the measure is really showing just how engaged the American population is in wage-earning jobs, arguably a better gauge of economy than the unemployment rate.

"The ratio expresses more clearly how many people find working to be a 'good or attractive deal,'" said Tyler Cowen...

"The ratio makes the employment problem look worse, and in that sense is bad for Obama," Cowen said. "A deeper look, however, shows the ratio has been declining for many years, and that its ongoing decline predates Obama and most likely represents longer-run trends about the world of work.

The world of work??? Nah. Think bigger.

Anyway, for how many years has the ratio been declining? Depends how you look at it.

As raw percentage, since the year 2000:

Graph #1: The Employment-Population Ratio

As percent change, since the early 1980s:

Graph #2: Percent Change from Year Ago in the Employment-Population Ratio


Jazzbumpa said...

At least to some extent, this is an artifact of an aging population. Boomers are retiring and that trend will go on for several more years. Now why would Cowan ignore that?

Krugman looks at unemployment in the (I think) 24 to 55 age group. That tells a pretty reasonable story.


Jerry said...

I imagine most of the big swing there is women getting jobs, right?