April 6, 2013

THEY NEARLY HAD AN INSIGHT THERE:

Making Work Not Pay ()WSJ, 4/06/13)

The civilian labor participation rate fell again in March to 63.3%. That's 0.5-percentage points lower than a year ago, and it's a stunning 2.4-points lower than June 2009 when the recovery began. The last time the participation rate was so low was in May 1979, before the surge of women into the workplace in the 1980s and 1990s.

And because white men were doing the hiring, those women did not replace white male workers, they were just added to the employment rolls.  Those jobs were a function of public policy, not the private economy.

Fifty years later, in a colorblind/genderblind society, the employment participation rate is naturally returning to historical norms.

The more interesting question is whether--given that those fifty years also saw a computer revolution and globalization of the world economy--it can possibly be sustained at such a high level.  Given everything that computers, robots, and foreign workers will do for us, how can we possibly need as many workers as we had in the past?

Posted by at April 6, 2013 6:54 AM
  

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