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Conclusion: How Low Will the Unemployment Rate Go?
A major theme of the posts in our labor market series has been that the outflows from unemployment, either into employment or out of the labor force, have been the primary determinant of unemployment rate dynamics in long expansions. The key to the importance of outflows is that within long expansions there have not been adverse shocks that lead to a burst of job losses. To illustrate the power of this mechanism, we presented simulations in a previous post that were based on the movements in the outflow and inflow rates in the previous three expansions. These simulated paths show the ...
Labor Force Exits and COVID-19: Who Left, and Are They Coming Back?
Millions of workers are still unemployed or have dropped out of the labor force. What is the likelihood that these people will return to work in the coming year?
Black and White Differences in the Labor Market Recovery from COVID-19
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the various measures put in place to contain it caused a rapid deterioration in labor market conditions for many workers and plunged the nation into recession. The unemployment rate increased dramatically during the COVID recession, rising from 3.5 percent in February to 14.8 percent in April, accompanied by an almost three percentage point decline in labor force participation. While the subsequent labor market recovery in the aggregate has exceeded even some of the most optimistic scenarios put forth soon after this dramatic rise, the recovery has been ...
The Rapidly Growing Home Care Sector and Labor Force Participation
The COVID-19 pandemic has shed light on the growing need for home care workers, who support their elderly and disabled clients in their homes with activities of daily living, and on the challenges of recruiting and retaining workers in the industry. This brief describes the state of the home care sector and its connection to the economy. It looks at home care as a rapidly growing industry facing significant challenges and at home care’s role in enabling working-aged family members to participate in the labor force,i which supports the Federal Reserve’s maximum employment mandateThere is ...
Single Mothers Face Difficulties with Slim Financial Cushions
During the COVID-19 recession, single mothers faced high unemployment and were more likely to exit the labor force than single fathers and women without children.
Family Needs Affect U.S. Labor Participation of Prime-Age Workers
The share of people ages 25-55 who are out of the U.S. labor force because they’re taking care of family or the home rose sharply during the pandemic.
Projecting Unemployment and Demographic Trends
Demographic forces have profoundly shaped the dynamics of U.S. labor force participation and unemployment over the past forty years. Recognizing the importance of these employment indicators for the conduct of monetary policy, this Economic Brief explores how they have been influenced by the U.S. population's changing gender, educational, and age profile. Based on the authors' estimates, the trend U.S. unemployment rate will decline to 4.3 percent over the next ten years as the population continues to age and increase its educational attainment.
Did Covid-19 disproportionately affect mothers’ labor market activity?
School and day care center restrictions during the Covid-19 pandemic have presented enormous challenges to parents trying to juggle work with child-care responsibilities. Still, empirical evidence on the impact of pandemic-related child-care constraints on the labor market outcomes of working parents is somewhat mixed. Some studies suggest the pandemic had no additional impact on the labor supply of parents, while other studies show not only that it did but that the negative impact was disproportionately borne by working mothers.
Pandemic labor force participation and net worth fluctuations
The U.S. labor force participation rate (LFPR) experienced a record drop during the early pandemic. While it has since recovered to 62.2% as of December 2022, it was still 1.41 pp below its pre-pandemic peak. This gap is explained mostly by a permanent decline in the LFPR for workers older than 55. This paper argues that wealth effects driven by the historically high returns in major asset classes such as stocks and housing may have influenced these trends. Combining an estimated model of wealth effects on labor supply with micro data on balance sheet composition, we show that changes in net ...
President's Message: A Labor Drought?
Following the economic pain of the pandemic, the economy has bounced back, supported by historic levels of fiscal and monetary stimulus. Unemployment has dropped and is now basically at pre-pandemic levels. Yet labor force participation has been slow to return.