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Thread: What the Labor Force and Not in the Labor Force actually mean

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    What the Labor Force and Not in the Labor Force actually mean

    I've seen a lot of articles and a lot of people here and on other forums who seem confused about what the terms "Labor Force" and "Not in the Labor Force" and what the Labor Force Participation Rate mean.

    To look at the labor market, first we have to pick the universe. There are many people in this country who are part of groups that cannot or face strict barriers of entry or exit to working. So off the bat, we eliminate these groups as they would give a distorted picture.

    Children under 16: Obviously some children do work, but the number is so small and limited to a handful of occupations, that nothing is lost by ignoring them, and the picture becomes clearer.

    The Military: Obviously employed, and included as employed from 1984-1993, but basically all they did for the numbers was reduce the UE rate. There are strong barriers for entering and leaving the military and the number of military is not a reflection of the labor market.

    Prisoners: Some prisoners work, clearly, but it's not really a hiring, firing, quitting, type thing. So, like the military, not reflective of the actual labor market. And they'd throw off salary and wage info.
    Those in Institutions: Old age homes, mental institutes, etc. Again, not free participants.

    This is our population then: Those age 16 and older, not in the military, not in prison or other institution. When I say "population," this is who I mean, and it's the base for the Labor Force Percentage rate and the Employment-Population Ratio.

    Note that disabled and the elderly are NOT excluded unless they are in prison or an institution. I've heard many people claim that the Labor Force Percentage Rate is a percent of "working age" and or "able-bodied", but they are incorrect.

    So out of our populaton (250,266,000) some people work or have jobs or own a business. These are classified as Employed (148,587,000). These iinclude people who didn't work the survey week due to temporary injury, illness, vacation, weather, strike, etc as long as they have an actual job to return to.

    Some people are not working but are trying to find work (or are on temporary layoff waiting to go back to work). These are the Unemployed (7,966,000)

    Together, the Employed and the Unemployed are the Labor Force (156,544,000) Note that: the Labor Force is Employed PLUS Unemployed.

    Everyone else in the Population who is not currently Employed or Unemployed is therefore Not in the Labor Force (93,712,000). This does NOT mean they "gave up" or "are no longer counted," or are "really unemployed." It's just everyone who is neither working nor trying to work. The majority are old, young, or disabled. Most do not want a job.

    So the Labor Force Participation Rate is simply the percent of the population that is doing something about work. More retirees, more disabled, more stay home spouses, more students will all make the rate go down but does NOT indicate anything bad about the labor market. The Participation Rate historically has been much lower than current.
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    Excellent point @Pingy and the FACT is that the Labor Force Participation Rate is just a PHONY "Talking Point" used by Conservative Pundits to Gin up more discontent

    think of it this way AMERICA has roughly 300 million people so 93 million would add up to retired Seniors, Children, the Disabled etc

    ya See "Conservatives" have Nothing "Meaningful" to Offer the people so they rely on spreading Fear and Discontent to Pump Up their base
    ..

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    Let's not forget that less than half of the total U.S. population is actually even considered to be in the labor force. That means at any given time, the average person is not working. Of course this includes children, teenagers, and the elderly, but still that is a striking statistic.

    It may be more helpful if we focus on the 25-54 year old age group, but even then only 77% of the people in this age group—considered to be the prime working time in their lives—are actually working right now.
    Last edited by Anders Hoveland; 05-24-2015 at 06:35 PM.

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    Oh good grief, the zannies are coming out.

    There is actually 47% of eligible workers not working acroding to the LPR. Whack a full 7% off of that and you 40% that can't finf work. The total is about 90 million, add the 'official' unemployment to that and you have about 100 million Americans not working, and the vast, vast, majority of that never can!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelr View Post
    Oh good grief, the zannies are coming out.

    There is actually 47% of eligible workers not working acroding to the LPR. Whack a full 7% off of that and you 40% that can't finf work. The total is about 90 million, add the 'official' unemployment to that and you have about 100 million Americans not working, and the vast, vast, majority of that never can!!
    How are you getting "eligible?" Of the 93 million neither working nor looking for work, 93% say they DON'T WANT TO WORK.

    But you're putting them in the same category as people trying and failing to find work. Why?
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinqy View Post
    How are you getting "eligible?" Of the 93 million neither working nor looking for work, 93% say they DON'T WANT TO WORK.

    But you're putting them in the same category as people trying and failing to find work. Why?
    There is a difference between "not having sought work" and not wanting to work.

    Many of the unemployed, sustained as they are by endless Funemployment Compensation, are just saying to hell with it and not looking. That doesn't mean they wouldn't want to work, once the Gravy Train hits the end of the tracks.

    You can lap up all the Regime's bullshit like a dog at a puddle of vomit; but anyone who says things are as good as they always have been, or better than ten years ago...is, just plain RETARDED.

    And yes, I know, that fits a lot of the MoveOn "opinion leaders" we see wandering in here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JustPassinThru View Post
    There is a difference between "not having sought work" and not wanting to work.
    And I am making that distinction. For April, 93,712,000 people did not work during the week of April 12-18 (and were not just absent from a job) and had not looked for work in the previous 4 weeks or were not available to start work that week. Of those, 87,616,000 did not want to work at that time (this includes high school and college students starting to look for summer jobs).


    Many of the unemployed, sustained as they are by endless Funemployment Compensation, are just saying to hell with it and not looking. That doesn't mean they wouldn't want to work, once the Gravy Train hits the end of the tracks.
    Those are captured. They are called Discouraged Workers and defined as those who say they want a job now, could start work now if offered, looked for a job in the last 12 months but not the last 4 weeks and stopped looking because they thought there were no jobs, they didn't have the right skills/education or would face discrimination. That number has been going down and is now 756,000 (from a height of 1,282,000 in 2010)

    http://www.bls.gov/web/empsit/cpseea38.htm
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinqy View Post
    How are you getting "eligible?" Of the 93 million neither working nor looking for work, 93% say they DON'T WANT TO WORK.

    But you're putting them in the same category as people trying and failing to find work. Why?
    It's not like they don't want or need a job, it's that there is none to be had. Face it, there is nothing that you or anyone can say about this economy except for the fact that it's over. The bond crash started, and soon all the feds pumping of the stock market will be for naught, and those gains will be wiped clear and then some.

    You trying to spin this is destroying what credibility that you may of had.

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    Quote Originally Posted by michaelr View Post
    It's not like they don't want or need a job,.
    Yes it is when their response to the question "Do you currently want a job, either full or part time?" is "no." A "maybe" or "it depends" is treated as a yes.

    For some odd reason you're assuming that every single person age 16 and older wants and/or needs a job. That's ridiculous.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pinqy View Post
    Yes it is when their response to the question "Do you currently want a job, either full or part time?" is "no." A "maybe" or "it depends" is treated as a yes.

    For some odd reason you're assuming that every single person age 16 and older wants and/or needs a job. That's ridiculous.
    Your statement is insane, and speaks volumes about you. Damn man, do you really think that I am stupid enough to believe that 100 million people in this country just don't want to work? Good grief, no one is that stupid, so therefore we can deduce that you're a liar, but why....why or who are you lying for?!

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