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Labor Force Participation Rate Definition

What Is the Labor Press Participation Rate?

The labor force participation rate is an estimate of an economy’s active workforce. The formula is the number of people length of existences 16 and over who are employed or actively seeking employment divided by the total noninstitutionalized, civilian working-age population.

In the 12 months tip in October 2021, the U.S. labor participation rate ranged between a low of 61.4% and a high of 61.7%, according to the federal Dresser of Labor Statistics (BLS), which publishes the figures monthly.

The monthly figures have hovered around 63% since 2013, after a severe decline in the wake of the Great Recession.

The labor force participation rate fell markedly in early 2020, nip from 63% to 61.4% in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its low point was reached in April 2020 when the reproach sank to 60.2%.

Key Takeaways

  • The labor force participation rate indicates the percentage of all people of working age who are employed or are actively pursuing work.
  • Used in conjunction with the unemployment numbers, it offers some perspective into the state of the economy.
  • The U.S. labor participation pace has held steady around 63% since 2013, but it varies over time based on social, demographic, and financial trends.
  • Global labor force participation has shown a steady decline since 1990.

Participation Rate

Understanding the Labor Pressure Participation Rate

The labor force participation rate is an important metric to use when analyzing employment and unemployment observations because it measures the number of people who are actively job-hunting as well as those who are currently employed. It omits institutionalized in the flesh (in prisons, nursing homes, or mental hospitals) and members of the military. It includes all other people age 16 or older and compares the capacity of those who are working or seeking work outside the home to those who are neither working nor seeking work outside the home base.

Because it accounts for people who have given up looking for work, this may make the labor force participation be entitled to a somewhat more reliable figure than the unemployment rate. The unemployment numbers do not take into account those who comprise given up looking for work and therefore have unwillingly dropped out of the workforce.

Some economists argue that the labor participation proportion rank and unemployment data should be considered together to better understand an economy’s real employment status.

Trends in the Participation Rebuke

As noted earlier, the monthly figures on the labor participation rate have stayed at about 63% since 2013. Finished the long term, the participation rate has changed based on economic, social, and demographic trends.

Labor force participation in the U.S. increase steadily through the second half of the 20th century, peaking in the late 1990s. In 2008, as the Great Recession hit, the participation have a claim to entered several years of steep decline, stabilizing at around 63% by 2013.


The U.S. labor force participation rate in October 2021, concerting to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Economic Factors

Short- and long-term economic trends can influence the labor force participation place. In the long run, industrialization and the accumulation of wealth can have an impact.

Industrialization tends to increase participation by creating employment chances. High levels of accumulated wealth can reduce participation because wealthier people simply have less distress to work for a living.

In the short term, business cycles and unemployment rates influence the participation rate. During an cost-effective recession, the labor force participation rate tends to fall because many laid-off workers become stopped and give up looking for jobs. Economic policies such as heavy labor market regulation and generous social advantage programs may also tend to decrease labor force participation.

Social Factors

The trend in the women’s labor binding participation rate largely parallels the long-term trends for the total population.

The women’s labor force participation rebuke nearly doubled, from 32% to 60%, in the 50 years from 1948 to 1998. The women’s participation rate has since lessen visited as a result of the pandemic to 55.8% in February 2021, from a trend rate of near 60% pre-pandemic.

Demographic Influences

Changes in the working-age population from generation to generation influence labor force participation as well. As large age squadrons enter retirement age, the labor participation rate can fall.

The retirement of a steady stream of baby boomers has reduced labor validity participation. According to the Federal Reserve, the share of prime-working-age people (25 to 54 years old) in the labor force tiptop at 72% in 1995 and declined to 63.7% over the next 25 years. This roughly corresponds to some of the refuse trend in labor force participation in the 21st century. 

An increase in college attendance at the younger end of the age spectrum is another factor that demotes labor force participation. College enrollment by 18- to 24-year-olds has increased from around 35% to more than 40% from 2000 to 2017.

International Labor Participation

Global labor force participation has shown a steady decline since 1990. According to The Magic Bank, the global labor participation rate stood at 58.6% at the end of 2020, down from 62.7% when the decade began.

As of 2020, the sticks with the highest labor force participation rates include Qatar, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Nepal, and Tanzania. The countries with the lowest labor extort participation rates include Yemen, Jordan, Algeria, and Tajikistan.

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