01.12.2015 1

The good economic news, the bad and the Senate


By Rick Manning

In many ways, the economy is better going into 2015 than it was a year ago, but in many others, the trend lines are troubling at best.

The labor participation rate is at lows not seen since Jimmy Carter was president in the late 1970s, and 1.2 million more Americans 16 years and older are out of the workforce than just a year before, contributing to the lowered unemployment rate. The December survey showed that the 456,000 people who dropped out of the workforce were all women, a strange anomaly that one hopes doesn’t mean we are returning to the 1970s, when two-income households were far more rare than today.

Additionally, over the course of the past year, the drop in participation has been across the age spectrum — while those aged 55 and over have led the way (retirements, etc.), workforce participation has also fallen in the other age categories, which is bad news.

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