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US Labor Force Hits 36-Year Low

MORE WORKFORCE SHRINKAGE …  By FITSNEWS || Recovery? What recovery … The United States labor force hit a 36-year-low this week, with statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing a whopping 92.6 million working age Americans were not participating in the workforce.  As a result, the country’s…

MORE WORKFORCE SHRINKAGE … 

By FITSNEWS || Recovery? What recovery …

The United States labor force hit a 36-year-low this week, with statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showing a whopping 92.6 million working age Americans were not participating in the workforce.  As a result, the country’s labor participation rate slipped from 62.8 to 62.7 percent – its lowest reading since February of 1978.

Wow … so much for all those headlines touting the decline in the unemployment rate (which slipped to 5.9 percent due to the exodus of 315,000 working age people from the labor pool).

What gives?

It’s simple, really … the economy is not recovering.  Far too few people have jobs, and the ones who do have jobs are finding it harder to make ends meet thanks to their stagnant incomes.

For those of you keeping score at home, labor participation has been on a steady and inexorable decline. When U.S. president Barack Obama – a self-proclaimed “middle class hero” – took office, it stood at 65.8 percent.

In South Carolina, labor participation currently stands at 57.8 percent – well behind the national average.  That number is also well below its June 2011 peak of 60.9 percent shortly after “Jobs Governor” Nikki Haley took office.

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33 comments

Robert October 3, 2014 at 10:48 am

Will, the numbers are being misused. Recovery is happening and rolling along. Many people are not working because they have no skills; none. I have customers looking for quality people to hire. To say the economy still stinks is just not true. In many, many areas it is doing very well.

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Bill Clinton October 3, 2014 at 10:51 am

BULLSHIT!

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FastEddy23 October 3, 2014 at 11:04 am

“… US unemployment rate just slid once more to a meager 5.9%, the lowest print since the summer of 2008, the answer is the same one we have shown every month since 2010: the collapse in the labor force participation rate, which in September slid from an already three decade low 62.8% to 62.7% – the lowest in over 36 years, matching the February 1978 lows [of the Carter administration recession]. …” – http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-10-03/labor-participation-rate-drops-36-year-low-record-926-million-americans-not-labor-fo

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FastEddy23 October 3, 2014 at 11:10 am

Robert: “… I have customers looking for quality people to hire. …”

None of the applicants for my help wanted ads here in Taxifornia can speak business English. Those that can speak passable English make way more money from food stamps, housing subsidies and unemployment insurance … more than I can pay.

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Meat Loaf October 3, 2014 at 11:00 am

Open the border with Mexico and last one in is a sonofabitch.

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Tazmaniac October 3, 2014 at 11:03 am

I wonder who the Finger Pointer-In-Chief is going to put this on?

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Yawns October 3, 2014 at 11:05 am

His people wrote it. Think “illegal executive amnesty.”

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Yawns October 3, 2014 at 11:04 am

Obama’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (reported the way he orders).

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FastEddy23 October 3, 2014 at 11:15 am

Oh, Bummer.

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FastEddy23 October 3, 2014 at 11:15 am

Oh, Bummer.

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Native Ink October 3, 2014 at 11:30 am

Within a couple of generations, truck driving will be automated along with most other transportation jobs. Factories already employ far fewer workers than they used to. Once we thought we could all live like princes while robots and computers do our work for us. It might have been that way, but we’re trapped in a conservative worldview, which demands that people work 40+ hours a week to earn their keep and also demands businesses seek maximum efficiency, which often means replacing people with machines.

So you’ll never get to work four days a week so that the the work force matches the work needed by society. You’ll either have a job and work a 40+ hours a week or you will be out of work and despised.

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Hmmmmm..... October 3, 2014 at 12:00 pm

“but we’re trapped in a conservative worldview, which demands that people work 40+ hours a week to earn their keep and also demands businesses seek maximum efficiency, which often means replacing people with machines.”

Ok, a couple of points:

1. It’s not that you’re trapped in a “conservative worldview”, it’s that there’s a global market place that we all have to compete in now. Dem or Republican is as relevant as apples is to toilet water.

2. It is true that businesses are replacing people with machines. But, you have to ask the question “why”. Machines are still capital intensive things for the most part, especially dependent on the complexity of the task by which it is replace a human.

Is it possible, that the rate at which people are being replaced with machines, is any way related to the additional cost(via payroll taxes, & regulatory burden) of hiring people has forced businesses hands in replacing people with automation?

My comment/question is not a “conservative” one even though you might suggest it is, it’s simply just that…a question.

I can tell you it takes at least 40% more(really it’s much more in most circumstances)money to hire someone than what a company pays them in wages due to taxes & regulatory burden. (not even taking into account the new ACA mandates)

So, have the gov’t taxed & regulated our jobs away? I think that is a reasonable question regardless of what political label you attach to yourself.

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Native Ink October 3, 2014 at 1:40 pm

Noam Chomsky has written about the debate in the early days of automation over who would own the machines. Some technologists wanted to make machines that the workers would own and control, making the workers independent tradesmen who controlled their own tools. Others thought the factory owners should own and control the machines. Guess who won. Maybe conservative/liberal labels don’t exactly fit this scenario, but I couldn’t think of anything better off the top of my head.

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Hmmm.... October 3, 2014 at 4:03 pm

“Some technologists wanted to make machines that the workers would own
and control, making the workers independent tradesmen who controlled
their own tools. Others thought the factory owners should own and
control the machines. Guess who won.”

Chomsky skips over how one gets to attain ownership of any machine…Noam is great on foreign policy but he’s a functional retard on economics.

Who do you know that is going to make a machine for free and give it to a tradesman?

The question is not who owns what, but how people prosper regardless of titles.

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aikencounty October 3, 2014 at 11:57 am

Well, if you possess the necessary skills in the construction trades,i.e., electrician, pipe fitter, boilermaker, iron worker, sheet metal, you can PICK your job ANYWHERE in the country.
Shortages exist in skilled nuclear construction workers in the southeast.
Data center construction nation wide, North Dakota oil patch boom.
West Virginia coal burners, New York state “chip” factories, Oklahoma and North Carolina data centers.
I am beginning to think Mike Rowe is the only person with any idea of the work.
Seems like for the last 30 years the “education industry’ has pushed the 4 year college degree as the only road to prosperity, almost to the point of degrading manual labor. No money to be made teaching “hands on’ skill sets.
Wanna make $75 to $100 k a year, with good family health insurance, and good retirements, learn a trade!
I DID!
RETIRED IBEW construction electrician.

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Great job! October 3, 2014 at 12:04 pm

Awesome post dude!

I’ve got a BS in business administration and run a blue collar business….I love it and make a good living.

When I took the plunge around 12 years ago I had “educated” friends in Charlotte asking me if I went crazy….many of them have been unemployed since then for extended periods of time.

I talked with a guy who co-owns a Porsche repair shop a few months back…he’s got an MBA from a local college.

People need to get over themselves and get back to hard work.

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Smirks October 3, 2014 at 12:33 pm

A lot of good fields don’t even require 4 year degrees. You can hit up a tech school, get an associate’s degree and some certs, do an internship or two, and suddenly find yourself further ahead than your peers that did go to a 4-year college, AND not having the kind of debt they do.

Each field’s different but the point is that there very well can be other options. It really breaks my heart to see kids blindly signing up for a bullshit degree and take loans out because no one actually sat them down and helped them figure out what they really want to do, or at least tell them not to waste their money if they don’t know.

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The Colonel October 3, 2014 at 1:38 pm

I recruit for the “coop” and tell the same facts to every group of high school kids I talk to, tech degrees, and apprenticeships are a surer way to a job than a four year degree.

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Centrist View October 3, 2014 at 2:17 pm

Wanna make $75 to $100 k a year, with good family health insurance, and good retirements, join a Union!
I DID!
RETIRED IBEW construction electrician

Corrected the last sentence for you. You got yours, but with union membership down, it will not be so for your grandchildren.

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aikencounty October 3, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Don’t confuse overall union membership with “construction trades” union membership. All the areas and all the jobs I referenced were CONSTRUCTION jobs.

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Mike at the Beach October 4, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Most excellent- you nailed the third rail of the education discussion! Sharp, motivated people can succeed in more than one way. I teach at a few colleges part-time when I can find time, and I’ve had this discussion with kids who aren’t cutting it academically (but are sinking further into debt by the semester). The reactions I generally receive would make you think I called their mother a dirty name or something…

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BrigidBernadette October 6, 2014 at 8:57 am

Yes, you are oh so correct. I would have done better financially in life had I gone to Paul Mitchell school and ran my own business. Instead I have a relatively useless 4 year degree, but in our over-credentialed society, most jobs that pay middle class wages require a four year degree, in anything, any subject, which should tell you something about the actual work requirements. They really only require high school, and computer proficiency, and by that I mean you can make complex spreadsheets, create budgets, use Access, know something about databases. Which most assuredly USC will not teach you, you still have to go to Midlands Tech if you need Microsoft office, even auto-cad. A good example: a good friend got a four year degree from UGA, in history. After a few years of working in restaurants, she went to the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) for 50k. She learned food and business from them. Now she is an international cheese buyer for a large food import company. And of all my friends, even the attorneys, she makes more money and frankly has a pretty glam job, but she is willing to work 60 hours a week for those trips to Catalan, Italy, France. But she still had to pay back those UGA years, even though her career came from another place entirely. So while her drive is greater than most of the local lay-abouts, many of those wasters did get Philosophy and English degrees, which is fine but you still need to learn HOW to do something that has value in the marketplace. I wish I had learned that before I even left high school. They may sound like dilettantes but they are broke and don’t understand the first thing about how anything in the real world works. Much less how business works. But hey, the state is always hiring right? I hear there are some jobs open at DSS.

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Thomas October 3, 2014 at 12:05 pm

All this says is Millennials are jobless and will default on those student loans. Fuck millennials. That third party libertarian crap will get you no where faster. Pick one of two political parties and clean them out…your futures depends on it.

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Bullshit October 3, 2014 at 12:06 pm

“Pick one of two political parties and clean them out…your futures depends on it.”

It’s the two parties that fucked them to start. Not only will choosing one not help them, as the US Titanic is already sinking, why would they lend support to two groups that shoved a red,white & blue dick up their asses?

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Thomas October 3, 2014 at 1:45 pm

bull shit back at you. YOU are the political parties. Get off your asses and fix it or bohica. Stop making excuses.

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Bullshit October 3, 2014 at 3:58 pm

“YOU are the political parties.”

More ignorant PC tripe. Nothing is saving the ship. I’ll place my faith in myself, not some lying sack of sociopathic shit politicians.

Your pol worship is disgusting.

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Thomas October 3, 2014 at 7:41 pm

…until your generation becomes the lying sack of sociopathic shit politicians you so detest. Look around. Boomers are saying the same thing but they have generational wealth and had good paying jobs to build those bunkers, stash that food and cache those firearms and gold bars. Colloquially, we call them “survivalists”. Not a viable strategy. You millennials better unfuck yourselves and start shitting Tiffany cufflinks.

Bullshit October 3, 2014 at 8:22 pm

“…until your generation becomes the lying sack of sociopathic shit politicians you so detest?”

My whole point is that the system is broken and voting isn’t going to fix it.

I have no idea what your point is.

Thomas October 4, 2014 at 6:16 pm

“My whole point is that the system is broken and voting isn’t going to fix it”.

What a feeble thing to say. I will spell it out for you. If Millennials worked the middle in elections and voted as a block for either party cherry picking the best candidate or even just removing a bad candidate, watch what happens. Using that social media and adopting the “us vs them” mentality to target local, state, national elections will e-m-p-o-w-e-r your generation in as little as two election cycles.

Bullshit October 5, 2014 at 9:28 am

You’re living in a PC fantasy land.

willblogformoney October 3, 2014 at 1:33 pm

Those fucking airline kiosks

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The Original Bobby Mac October 3, 2014 at 4:16 pm

With the baby boomer’s now hitting retirement and the increased life expectancy of our retirees it is not surprising that the labor participation rate is falling.

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aikencounty October 3, 2014 at 6:36 pm

EXACTLY!
But that doesn’t garner headlines or site hits.

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