Kitchen Table Economics

What’s the Labor Force Participation Rate?

Not everyone has, or is looking for a job. Some parents stay at home to take care of the kids. Others simply take long periods of time off to travel and spend time with family. Regardless of the situation, the federal government keeps tabs on how many people are on the sidelines versus in the workforce. It’s called the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR), which is calculated by dividing the sum of all workers who are employed or actively looking for a job by the working-age population.

Historically, the U.S. LFPR fluctuates around the mid-60s. The indicator hit a peak of 67.3 percent in 2000 and fell to a modern-era low of 60.2 percent in April 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, the LFPR has modestly rebounded but still remains below pre-pandemic levels.

When it comes to the economy operating on all cylinders, the more workers the merrier! So as the country continues to recover from the pandemic, lawmakers should be pursuing policies that encourage people to re-enter the workforce. Cutting off enhanced unemployment benefits from the federal government, which is incentivizing Netflix over a job, is one good example.

The economy needs all hands on deck. Time to get onboard.