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Changing trends in the labor force: a survey

Author

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  • Riccardo DiCecio
  • Kristie M. Engemann
  • Michael T. Owyang
  • Christopher H. Wheeler

Abstract

The composition of the American workforce has changed dramatically over the past half century as a result of both the emergence of married women as a substantial component of the labor force and an increase in the number of minority workers. The aging of the population has contributed to this change as well. In this paper, the authors review the evidence of changing labor force participation rates, estimate the trends in labor force participation over the past 50 years, and find that aggregate participation has stabilized after a period of persistent increases. Moreover, they examine the disparate labor force participation experiences of different demographic groups. Finally, they survey some of the studies that have provided explanations for these differences.

Suggested Citation

  • Riccardo DiCecio & Kristie M. Engemann & Michael T. Owyang & Christopher H. Wheeler, 2008. "Changing trends in the labor force: a survey," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 47-62.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:2008:i:jan:p:47-62:n:v.90no.1
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chinhui Juhn & Simon Potter, 2006. "Changes in Labor Force Participation in the United States," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 27-46, Summer.
    2. Katharine L. Bradbury, 2000. "Rising tide in the labor market: to what degree do expansions benefit the disadvantaged?," New England Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, issue May, pages 3-33.
    3. Jeremy Greenwood & Ananth Seshadri & Mehmet Yorukoglu, 2005. "Engines of Liberation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 72(1), pages 109-133.
    4. Todd E. Clark & Taisuke Nakata, 2006. "The trend growth rate of employment : past, present, and future," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q I, pages 43-85.
    5. Dan A. Black & Natalia A. Kolesnikova & Lowell J. Taylor, 2008. "The labor supply of married women: why does it differ across U.S. cities?," Working Papers 2007-043, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    6. Stephanie Aaronson & Bruce Fallick & Andrew Figura & Jonathan Pingle & William Wascher, 2006. "The Recent Decline in the Labor Force Participation Rate and Its Implications for Potential Labor Supply," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 37(1), pages 69-154.
    7. Katharine L. Bradbury, 2005. "Additional slack in the economy: the poor recovery in labor force participation during this business cycle," Public Policy Brief, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    8. Julie L. Hotchkiss, 2005. "Employment growth and labor force participation: how many jobs are enough?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, issue Q 1, pages 1-13.
    9. Alessandra Fogli & Laura Veldkamp, 2007. "Nature or Nurture? Learning and Female Labor Force Dynamics," Working Papers 07-11, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    10. Daniel Aaronson & Kyung-Hong Park & Daniel G. Sullivan, 2006. "The decline in teen labor force participation," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q I, pages 2-18.
    11. Amitabh Chandra, 2000. "Labor-Market Dropouts and the Racial Wage Gap: 1940-1990," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 333-338, May.
    12. Raquel Fernández & Alessandra Fogli & Claudia Olivetti, 2004. "Mothers and Sons: Preference Formation and Female Labor Force Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1249-1299.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Edlund, Lena & Machado, Cecilia & Sviatschi, Maria, 2015. "Bright Minds, Big Rent: Gentrification and the Rising Returns to Skill," IZA Discussion Papers 9502, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Lahiri, Kajal & Song, Jae & Wixon, Bernard, 2008. "A model of Social Security Disability Insurance using matched SIPP/Administrative data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 145(1-2), pages 4-20, July.
    3. Lena Edlund & Cecilia Machado & Maria Sviatschi, 2016. "Bright Minds, Big Rent: Gentrification and the Rising Returns to Skill," Working Papers 16-36, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    4. repec:pal:easeco:v:43:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1057_eej.2015.49 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Willem Van Zandweghe, 2012. "Interpreting the recent decline in labor force participation," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q I, pages 5-34.
    6. Kristie M. Engemann & Howard J. Wall, 2010. "The effects of recessions across demographic groups," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Jan, pages 1-26.
    7. Landajo, Manuel & Presno, María José, 2010. "Nonparametric pseudo-Lagrange multiplier stationarity testing," MPRA Paper 25659, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Saridakis, George & Marlow, Susan & Storey, David J., 2014. "Do different factors explain male and female self-employment rates?," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 345-362.
    9. Silvio Contessi & Li Li, 2013. "From "man-cession" to "he-covery": same old, same old," Economic Synopses, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

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    Keywords

    Labor supply ; Labor market;

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