EVERYBODY’S HURTING …
According to a breakdown published by the Palmetto Policy Forum – a think tank founded by former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint – every demographic in the state is suffering from workforce shrinkage.
“From 2008 to the most complete numbers we have in 2013, South Carolina’s labor participation has seen a uniform, steady decline across gender and race, aside from a 2012-2013 rebound among Hispanic workers,” a release from the organization states.
In other words no matter who you are, the search for work – especially the sort of work that pays the bills – is becoming increasingly elusive.
Nationally, the labor participation rate – or the share of the working age population that’s either employed or actively looking for work – continues to slip. Earlier this month it hit a 36-year-low of 62.7 percent. In South Carolina the rate is currently 57.8 percent – just above a record low.
South Carolina finished 2013 ranked No. 46 nationally in this key measure of economic virility.
Why does this matter?
Because declines in the unemployment rate – both at the state and national level – are being touted as signs of economic progress when the reality is more people than ever are not working. In fact the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows a whopping 92.6 million working age Americans were not participating in the workforce.
Anyway, for those of you keeping score at home here is the Palmetto Policy Forum release on South Carolina’s labor participation in chart form …
(Click to enlarge)
Ouch … does that look like a recovery to you?