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Labor Force Participation Rate for Selected Age Groups: 2008 and 2009

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Report Number ACSBR/09-9

The recent economic downturn has affected the labor force participation of men and women of all ages and education levels.1 Recent college graduates have had difficulty obtaining jobs,2 while older workers are returning to work or continuing to work in order to bolster their diminished retirement savings.3 Some younger workers may enroll in school or stay in school due to diminished job prospects, while others may end their job search out of frustration.4 The recession has also had an impact on workers in the prime working age group of 25 to 54, particularly for men and especially for those with less education. The largest job losses have been in male-dominated industries such as construction and manufacturing, whereas female-dominated industries such as healthcare have fared relatively better over the course of the recession.5 As a result of men bearing the brunt of the job losses, women are entering the labor force to supplement family income when their spouses have either lost their jobs or have had their work hours reduced.6 Consequently, workers of all ages and education levels will be competing for jobs within a smaller job market pool.

1 Hipple, Steven F., “The Labor Market in 2009: Recession Drags On,” Monthly Labor Review, March 2010, Vol. 133, No. 3, pp. 3–22.
2 Hipple, 2010.
3 See Bureau of Labor Statistics, Issues in Labor Statistics, March 2010, at <www.bls.gov/opub/ils/pdf/opbils81.pdf>.
4 Hipple, 2010.
5 Hipple, 2010.
6 See Greenhouse, Steven, “Recession Drives Women Back to the Work Force,” New York Times, September 19, 2009, at <www.nytimes.com /2009/09/19/business/19women.html>.

Page Last Revised - October 8, 2021
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