Chart Detail

Decline in the labor force participation rate from 1989 to 2011 and its possible effect on the unemployment rate in 2011, by gender and age

Labor force participation rate Unemployment rate
Gender Age 1989 2007 2011 Counterfactual 2011 rate* 2011 Counterfactual 2011 rate**
Men 16–24 73.1% 61.5% 56.6% 59.8% 18.7% 23.1%
25–54 93.7 90.9 88.7 90.3 8.2 9.8
55+ 39.6 45.2 46.3 45.9 7.0 6.1
Women 16–24 64.5% 57.2% 53.3% 56.5% 15.7% 20.5%
25–54 73.7 75.4 74.7 75.6 7.6 8.8
55+ 23.0 33.2 35.1 35.8 6.2 8.1
All 66.5% 66.0% 64.1% 65.4% 8.9% 10.7%

* The column shows the labor force participation rate had it followed its long-term trend.

** The column shows the unemployment rate had the workers making up the difference between the 2011 labor force participation rate and its long-term trend instead been in the labor force and unemployed.

Source: Authors' analysis of basic monthly Current Population Survey microdata

Updated May 15, 2012

Documentation and methodology

Demographic

Get the data behind the charts.

Explore Our Charts

Subject

Demographic

Select a subject or demographic

Interactive feature

Interactive feature promo image When income grows, who gains?

For the media

Economic Policy Institute Media Relations Department (202) 775–8810 |