Friday, September 07, 2012

Well, I'm doing my part :)

By now, the jobs report has been sliced and diced six ways to Sunday.  Everyone knows that the number of jobs were light but the unemployment rate ticked down as the participation rate continued it's steady decline.

Here's where I differ a bit from the consensus.  The majority of the talking heads are spinning the decline in participation on "people who stopped looking for work".  While some of this may be true, I think that this is part of a larger demographic trend.  The last time the participation rate was lower than this level was the early 1970's.  Well, participation rates climbed through the 70's even as the economy sputtered - why was that?  The easy answer is that the heart of the baby boomers entered the job market.  The peak of the baby boom was in the late 1950's and that means that the peak of the baby boom entered the job market in 1976-1981. 

Fast forward 30 years and it's 2006 and the boomers have survived one dotcom crash and they remain very weary of the market and its impact on their retirements.  When the 2008 meltdown hits the peak of the boomers are already thinking about retirement when they decide to start exiting the job market. 

There is no way to delineate retirements from "left the workforce" but I believe we've seen a rash of early retirements which when coupled with those truly discouraged workers has pummelled the participation rate.  I'd expect this trend to continue through at least 2024 but I expect the rate of decline will not be as steep in the future.


Here's your first look at my efforts to grow the NNY economy and inspire the next generation of math and science rock stars.  To paraphrase a commercial I saw in NJ "I'm a geek today, but I'll be your boss tomorrow!"


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