Monday, February 3, 2014

Employment/Working Age Pop

Below, Corrections depicts total employment/population aged 16-64 (click to enlarge).
We have unambiguously seen an improvement since the trough in 2009/2010.  


  1. Your graph shows an upward trajectory since around mid to late 2010 while the BLS graph of employment-population ratio shows a fairly static trajectory over that same time period ( ) it seems they use age greater than 16 years while you use 16-64 years. Is this what produces the difference?

  2. Yup! While BLS's E/P is a useful ratio to look at the proportion of the population working, it has the flaw of not excluding people who you wouldn't expect to be working. As we get secular shifts in that mass (the baby boom) we would naturally expect the BLS's E/P to decline. As we recover from the financial crisis, we would naturally expect E/P to rise. Those two offset in the BLS statistics, while this purely shows the recovery aspect, taking away from the fact that we would expect E/P to decline between 2007 and 2014 anyway.

  3. Also note our preferred measure is *hours* worked over population between 16-64, which also gets the intensive margin of work, hours/person, as well as the extensive margin of work, number of people working. This has shown an even larger recovery, as average working hours per person have increased slightly (even as average working hours per working person may have declined).