Slamming The Door Shut On The "Plunging Labor Force Participation Rate" Debate Once And For All

Tyler Durden's picture

And to think we have none other than the US Commerce Department to thank for issuing the one report which not only refutes all wrong "explanations" of the collapsing labor force participation rate, propagated by the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Fed itself. that blame said plunge on demographics, but once and for all slams the door shut on any future debate about just the New Normal secular shifts within the aging US population truly are.

From: "65+ in the United States: 2010"

On the one hand, the recession forced some workers to retire sooner than planned. On the other hand, the declines in housing and financial asset prices pushed many workers to delay retirement. The decision of when to retire was being influenced by opposing factors: (1) the decline in stock market prices and lowered housing values supported retirement delays, and (2) the rise in unemployment and greater difficulty among older adults in finding another job supported earlier retirement (Hurd and Rohwedder, 2010b). Among those nearing retirement age (age 50 to 61), 63 percent reported pushing back their expected retirement date as a result of economic conditions (Taylor et al., 2009a).



In 2010, 16.2 percent of the population aged 65 and over were employed, up from 14.5 percent in 2005. In contrast, 60.3 percent of the 20 to 24 age group were employed in 2010, down from 68.0 percent in 2005. Employment shares declined from 2005 to 2010 for all age groups younger than age 55. There was no statistical change in the employment share for workers aged 55 to 64 nor those aged 70 to 74. Engemann and Wall (2010) found that more people aged 55 and over were employed during the recession than would have been if there was no recession. Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics employment data, Engemann and Wall found that during the 2007–2009 period, employment grew by 7.4 percent for the population aged 55 and over. Based on trends prior to the recession, employment for this age group was expected to grow by only 6.1 percent. All younger age groups experienced a decline in employment during the same 2007 to 2009 period.

Oh, we almost forgot the punchline: dear US "retirees" - if you want to mitigate the impact of the US depression and the loss of savings income courtesy of the Fed's ZIRP policy, all you have to do is, well, work until you die.

Many older workers managed to stay employed during the recession; in fact, the population in age groups 65 and over were the only ones not to see a decline in the employment share from 2005 to 2010 (Figure 3-25)... Remaining employed and delaying retirement was one way of lessening the impact of the stock market decline and subsequent loss in retirement savings.


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kchrisc's picture

I saw a unicorn this morning.

Looks like it escaped from the DC US Commerce Dept.

max2205's picture

Or like me, said fuck it don't want to deal with the corp BS anymore

Bad Attitude's picture

I expect to work until the day I die. Whatever Social Security exists will be worthless. Pensions will be worthless. And, my 401K and other savings will be nationalzed, becoming worthless.

Forward (over the cliff)!

Son of Loki's picture

"ss will be worthless" will many life insurance policies that were bought in the 1980's and 1990's when people thought $250k - $500k was alot of money. Just about everyone I know has cashed in their policy and used the money for food, PMs, or other stuff b/c they feel the fiat will lose more and more value as we have seen.

kchrisc's picture

$250K - $500k can be a lot of money if they understand why $250k - $500K is not a lot of money.

Buy gold, silver, steel and lead. and it IS a lot on money.

doctor10's picture

nononono!!!!Silly people!! You see, according to, if you're not a "net taxpayer" you don't count!!

Unemplyment among "net taxpayers" is less than 0.5%: "labor force participiation rate " among "net taxpayers" likewise is 99.5%!!


So there!!!PHTHTHT!!!

'Bammy is God!!All is well with the Universe!! Shut up you miserable peasants!!!

TexasAggie's picture

We finally retired on Apr 30, at 71 & 68.

Rehab Willie's picture

I wonder if assisted suicide will be covered by insurance.

Winston Churchill's picture

Only with your copay in advance.

Pheonyte's picture

You forgot to mention those over 65 who had to become re-employed ... at McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, etc.

Cattender's picture

yep. count me as one of the LUCKY Ones with the same Low paying job now that i had BEFORE the Explosion of 08/09' LOL!!!!

RacerX's picture

So are the >65 folks really stealing all the jobs?


GeezerGeek's picture

It's hard to comprehend, but I in fact was accused of stealing someone's job. Just before I reached 65 my job moved from Florida to Wisconsin, but I wasn't invited along. Being lucky enough to truly retire (if not in style, exactly) I was outside mowing the grass one day when some foreign-sounding guy in a beat-up pickup truck with "lawn service" on the side drives by. He stops, we chat, and he cordially says that by mowing my own grass I'm stealing from him.

Next thing I know, the IRS will be sending me a tax bill for the imputed value of the work I was doing for myself. With my luck, they'll even have pictures from my webcam (courtesy of the NSA) showing my with a vacuum cleaner.

P.S. Here's a shoutout to all you yet-employed, of any age, who 'contribute' part of your efforts to my SS income and Medicare.

cherry picker's picture

Does Walmart Greeters, security guards, fast food clerk count in these stats.

This theme makes older people sound guilty of working, but they have to survive and often have basement kids to shelter.

Zero Hedge is off base on this one, regardless of what the charts tell you.

Tyler Durden's picture

No. It makes the Fed guilty of destroying the value of the savings they have worked all their life to accumulate.

McMolotov's picture

That is one hell of a kick to the nuts.

NoDebt's picture

Just wait till it's negative.

McMolotov's picture

As a kid, I always hated purple NIRPles.

max2205's picture

Trillions given to the banks instead of us in interest and yield

McMolotov's picture

They do God's work, so think of it as tithing.

CheapBastard's picture

Most peeples [back in the old days] were told by their CFA to expect an “average return of 8%” when they retire…. This may be why you see peeple in their 60's working the oucnters for mini wage in jcp, sears, etc. It's survival for many of them.


I read today that Lockheed changed its pension system to a defined benefit one to replace the very generous defined contribution plan.

Peeples need to plan accordingly.


shanearthur's picture

It's as you say - it's all about survival. My 77-year-old aunt I just visited was talking about the price of butter. She could not afford the price increase of butter. Try to grasp that for a bit. She doesn't work so she has a fixed income that buys a fixed amount of food. If food prices increase by 15%, she must buy less food. We're not talking flat screens, or cars here. Butter folks! The basics of survival and people are hurting over it. Meanwhile the illegal immigrants and welfare queens get 2300 a month and full up on full carts of junk food at her grocery store. Sh!ts broken beyond repair.

RichardENixon's picture

It is negative already, to the tune of perhaps 9-10% a year. Which is the plan, of course.

alien-IQ's picture

that is a jaw-dropping chart.

Buckaroo Banzai's picture

WTF are you babbling about? The point is that Libtard jackasses have been explaining away the collapsing labor force participation rate on baby boomers retiring...except of course they are lying because the exact opposite is happening, as they are the only demographic group that is actually keeping their jobs.

alien-IQ's picture

You seem to have fully missed the point.

Shizzmoney's picture

I worked with two people who were over 80 years old.  Mostly to pay for their children and grand children's costs.

All I could think of was, "I am never having kids.  Fuck that shit".

NoDebt's picture

Ah, give it a shot.  Kids are the best thing that ever happened to me.  Besides, nobody says you HAVE TO pay for them forever.  18 and boot their asses out.  That's my plan.  My wife has a slightly different plan (kids get to 18 and then boot MY ass out).

Oldwood's picture

Yes...if only my plan worked....wishing

Jumbotron's picture

" My wife has a slightly different plan (kids get to 18 and then boot MY ass out)."


That's actually what I'm HOPING for.....LOL ! 

FredFlintstone's picture

I have four with the youngest at 20. I always thought the same thing as you. I am finding myself concerned and wanting to get involved and help them even though I have done more than most so far. They went to private schools and all will have college degrees with no debt. One left to put through college.
Thought I could stop caring at about this stage. Caring really wears me out. Not built for it

cynicalskeptic's picture

Waited a decade and had two - replaced ourselves.  Thought long and hard about having them and how many.  Ended up with quite exceptional kids - top of classes, good all around - but it was a huge amount of work and effort.  The first is a bit high maintenance, headed for grad school, wants to be a professor.  Youngest is starting college in the fall, top school like his brother.   No worries on him - you could drop him anywhere and he'll be fine.   They both are well rounded academically and outside academics.  They really do have the potential to change the world.   They'll be a far longer lasting legacy than anything I ever did at work.  They'll have no debt and the freedom to do what they are interested in (having enough sense to be realistic about that) and what they are skilled in.  It's a rarity to have a f/t parent actually raising kids these days - sadly the result shows.

The problem is too many kids who will never be worth the food and oxygen they consume. That applies to the bottom and the top.  At the bottom end people simply have kids - no thought given.  Little attention is paid because the parents are too busy trying to get by.  The schools these kids go to are useless - the parents are clueless.  At the other end it's rarely better. Parents had kids somewhere in the middle of a 'to-do' list - after having the apartment in the city and before the house in the burbs.  They were raised by the cheapest help the parents could find - and it shows.   Schools cannot make up for a lack of parental involvement.  Mommy nad Daddy may get them through school - even into decent colleges and their first jobs but too many are unmotivated, unskilled screw-ups.

You don't need a license to have kids - and there's no government or group I would trust to oversee such an endeavor - but some people should NOT have ANY kids. EVER. They'd be far better off and far happier without them - and the kids they didn't have woud be far better off not being born.

lasvegaspersona's picture

I'm not 80 but that is me. Without my help the grand kids would be in a trailer...not that that is wrong...but even though the family is intact a single earner can't do it. Not provide, food, shelter, clothing, braces, transportation and a little fun.

Plus I have a teenager of my own.

Not having kids is not a solution once they take that first breath. Not having them in the first place probably makes sense for many....unlees the federal goverment will pay you the equivalent of $60,000 + to have another generation of kids who will also need it's help.

What a mess America has become. the government is at war with the population and destroys the nation by ignoring it's own laws. The president has declared he is not subject to balabce of power and his minion say he can 'borrow the power'...makes me not want to pay taxes.

Moe Hamhead's picture

And white people have more deaths than births in US, according to "the news".

TheReplacement's picture

Perhaps whitey is smarter.  What intelligent person would want to bring kids into the festering wound this planet is about to become.

IANAE's picture

... anyone surprised?


Too bad they don't have more recent figures... might be one place where a simple trendline is - unfortunately - accurately descriptive.

A is A's picture

This is clearly right wing propaganda and can't be possible that this is true. CNBC is a much more reputable source and they say this is bullshit so I say bullshit too...

TVP's picture

I recall seeing CNBC air a special on this topic...

Their conclusion?

Older people don't take ANY jobs from younger people, AT ALL.  

I wanted to throw the remote through the screen and piss on it.

saltedGold's picture

Be sure to unplug the TV before urinating into the broken screen!  I used to watch CNBC in the morning for a few good laughs before heading out to work.  After a while, it got too damn annoying and frustrating.  No sense torturing yourself by watching their bullshit. 

TVP's picture

Just take a look behind the counter at your local Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Mcdonald's, etc.  


Used to be mostly teenagers back there.


Now it's all grey-haired folks, disillusioned with where they went wrong.

And now the teenagers are left to squabble in the streets, disillusioned with all that life might hold for them in the future.  FIFTY PERCENT youth unemployment in many Euro-zone countries.  Lord have mercy.  

Louie the Dog's picture

"Now it's all grey-haired folks, disillusioned with where they went wrong."

Where I live age has nothing to do with's who can pass a drug test. Surprise, surprise,  mostly older folk. Who da thunk...


Oldwood's picture

Bonafide drug addiction gets you qualified for SSI payments. Depression gets you qualified for disability. If you can't remember your name or where you came from, it qualifies you as an illegal with special rights and privileges. I think a plan is finally coming to view...

FredFlintstone's picture

I think a high percentage of us here could be classified as depressed. Can anyone tell me what I might expect per month? :-)

zipit's picture

Older folks like drugs, too.  Especially, cigs and alcohol.  

stocktivity's picture

Have you worked with these young kids?  Give me an older worker any day.

Moe Hamhead's picture

The local Lowe's looks pretty grey too.

Make_Mine_A_Double's picture

Given the participation rate and roughly 1/3 of Merikcans are sitting on their asses watching TV. Why are the WSJ, US CofC, SiliCON Valley, etc. all pushing this torrent of useless eater illegals on a bankrupt country??

Surely you can't push take home pay down any lower for manual labor can you?


Pure Evil's picture

Yeah, it does seem strange that they allow low wage slaves to cross the border and steal jobs while at the same time we're constantly baraged with how minimum wage is not a liveable wage and should be raise to $15/Hr immediately.

What's the purpose of importing slaves if all you're gonna do is raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour?