The Ottumwa Courier

AP National

June 9, 2014

Where have all the missing American workers gone?

WASHINGTON (AP) — The unemployment rate has been on a slow downward trajectory since the recession ended nearly five years ago. While the overall jobless level has dropped to non-recession levels, the number of the working-age people with jobs is barely over 6 in 10, hovering at a level reminiscent of the late 1970s.

In May, the U.S. workforce-participation rate — the combination of those with jobs and unemployed workers actively seeking them — was just 62.8 percent, the same as the month before. Job markets have been essentially flat since October.

Where have all the missing workers gone?

A key factor, nearly all agree, is the growing exodus from the job market of Baby Boomers. Born roughly in the post-World War II period from 1946 to 1964, these workers are now at or fast approaching retirement age.

Another reason is that some employment-intensive industries that suffered the most during the Great Recession, especially in manufacturing and construction, have yet to fully rebound.

But perhaps the most significant factor is unemployed workers "who just drop out of the job market after one, two or three years of looking for work and not being successful," said Carl Van Horn, a professor of public policy at Rutgers University who studies workplace dynamics and employment trends.

Recent surveys suggest more and more long-time unemployed workers are abandoning the search for another job and leaving the nation's workforce.

"And they are disproportionately older workers," Van Horn said. "We have a large number of older (unemployed) workers who are not old enough to retire, yet they are facing discrimination in the workplace and have found it nearly impossible to get another job."

There's a flip side to that, though, Van Horn suggests: "As the economy gets stronger, as it continues to grow, eventually some of those discouraged workers will come back into the labor market, and we'll have a higher labor-participation rate."

Text Only
AP National
  • Ginsburg: Court right to void clinic buffer zones WASHINGTON (AP) — Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is defending a rare Supreme Court decision that put her at odds with women's rights groups. Ginsburg said the court's unanimous ruling in June that struck down the 35-foot, protest-free zone on sidewalks

    August 1, 2014

  • Poll: Foreign policy no longer Obama strong point WASHINGTON (AP) — Foreign policy used to be a bright spot in Americans' opinion of President Barack Obama. Not anymore. An Associated Press-GfK poll finds that dissatisfaction with Obama's handling of events in Ukraine, Gaza and elsewhere now matches

    August 1, 2014

  • US employers add 209K jobs, rate rises to 6.2 pct. WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. employers extended their hiring surge into July by adding a solid 209,000 jobs. It was the sixth straight month of job growth above 200,000, evidence that businesses are gradually shedding the caution that had marked the 5-year

    August 1, 2014

  • Semi crash coats Indianapolis highway in butter INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A semitrailer has overturned on an Indianapolis interstate, spilling what police say are 45,000 pounds of packages of butter and other dairy products. The crash happened about 3:30 a.m. Friday in the eastbound lanes of Interstate

    August 1, 2014

  • Contract talks in Met Opera labor dispute extended NEW YORK (AP) — It's a drama worthy of the Metropolitan Opera: Frantic, last-minute labor negotiations aimed at averting a lockout that threatens to stop both pay and benefits for thousands of singers, musicians, stagehands and other workers. With ju

    August 1, 2014

  • WWI aviation still alive at aerodrome in New York RHINEBECK, N.Y. (AP) — There's still a place where buzzing biplanes swoop in pursuit of German triplanes, where pilots in open cockpits let their scarves flutter in the wind. The sights and sounds of World War I flight are recreated regularly at the

    August 1, 2014

  • State Dept: 'No American is proud' of CIA tactics WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department has endorsed the broad conclusions of a harshly critical Senate report on the CIA's interrogation and detention practices after the 9/11 attacks, a report that accuses the agency of brutally treating terror susp

    July 31, 2014

  • GOP: Lerner emails show bias against conservatives WASHINGTON (AP) — Congressional investigators say this is why they want all of Lois Lerner's emails. Newly released emails show the former IRS official referring to some right-wing Republicans as "crazies" and more, a revelation that is fueling GOP c

    July 31, 2014

  • Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead WASHINGTON (AP) — A sharply divided House approved a Republican plan Wednesday to launch a campaign-season lawsuit against President Barack Obama, accusing him of exceeding the bounds of his constitutional authority. Obama and other Democrats derided

    July 31, 2014

  • As US job market strengthens, many don't feel it WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. unemployment rate has plunged since the start of last year to a five-year low of 6.1 percent. And the July jobs report being released Friday will likely show a sixth straight month of healthy 200,000-plus gains. Yet for Do

    July 31, 2014

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National