Tuesday, May 31, 2005

employment insight

While cruising through the econ blogs, I had a curiosity bug bite me and did a little looking - and found something to make me go hmmm. As I posted on Max Samwick's Vox Baby comments, the interesting thing is the ratio of workers to total population. Now everyone's noted that it declined under Bush's tenure, and there've been many points made and argued over the cause. That's background.

As I note there, the interesting thing happens when you subsort that info by age. For all groups the numbers are fairly constant from 1995 through 2000. In 2001 a decline begins with a new norm established by 2003. For most age groups the decline is in the 2-3% range. For the 16-19 year olds, however, the decline in that period is about 10%.

As an aside, the relevant series IDs are LNS12300012Q - ages 16-19; LNS12300036Q - ages 20-24; LNS12300089Q - ages 25-34; LNS12300091Q - ages 35-44; LNS12300093Q - ages 45-54 .) You need to go to http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/srgate , choose "all years", paste those codes into the box, and 'retrieve data.'

Now an interesting secondary effect of this is that these people wouldn't show up in the unemployment rates. Almost all are looking for their first job, and unemployment numbers begin after that.

Me, I think it raises the question of why the drop. Is it a case of them looking but not finding, or is it that they're not looking? I think I'll drop an email to the BLS and see if they've got an answer among their statistical references.


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