Here is a second set of charts from reader Tim Wallace on labor force, population, and employment. The first set was a look at Labor Force, Employment, and Population April 2008 vs. April 2014.

This set compares the last two years, April 2012 vs. April 2104. Click on any chart to see a sharper image.

Age 16-24 Stats

Since April 2012 the number of people in age group 16-24 dropped insignificantly as did the number of people in the labor force. The latter is down by 101,000. However, there has been a 3.6% upswing in employment of 634,000.

Age 25-54 Stats

Age group 25-54 population is up slightly since 2012 but the labor force is down 0.5%. Employment is up 1.2% by 1,114,000. However, this is essentially a rise from the abyss. The first set of charts shows employment in this age group is down 4,614,000 from April 2008. Accounting for the decline in population in this group since 2008, employment is down 3,561,000 from where it should be, even with the 1,114,000 increase in the last two years.

Age 55-64 Stats

Population in age group 55-64 is up by 1,422,000 and employment is up by 1,211,000. Percentage-wise population is up by 3.7%, while employment is up 5.2%. This is a huge difference compared to stats for the core age group 25-54. We would need a finer breakdown to see if retirement is pushed back in the 62-64 age group but other evidence, notably the 65+ age group strongly suggests just that.

Age 65+ Stats

The age 65+ chart shows the increased tendency for people to work past retirement age, especially in percentage terms. The overall effect on employment has not been that great, at least in absolute number terms. The age 65+ population is up by 3,157,000 but employment is only up 813,000.


The first set of charts shows a rather dim view of the recovery since the start of the recession.

This set of charts shows the uneven nature of the recovery in the last two years. Percentage-wise, the worst performance is in the core 25-54 age group.

Let’s take a closer look at the curious set of numbers for the last two years.

Age Group Population Increase Labor Force Increase Employment Increase
16-24 19,000 101,000 634,000
25-54 96,000 -546,000 1,114,000
55-64 1,422,000 844,000 1,211,000
65+ 3,157,000 743,000 813,000

Age Group Population Increase% Labor Force Increase% Employment Increase%
16-24 0.0 0.5 3.6
25-54 0.1 -0.5 1.2
55-64 3.7 3.4 5.2
65+ 7.6 9.7 11.2

In percentage terms, there has been a decent recovery at the periphery, but not the core.

The decline in the labor force in age group 25-54 stands alone. Even in the last two years, things have not been normal.

Nonetheless, strong percentage hiring at the periphery coupled with the fact that employment is rising faster than the labor force in every demographic, explains the drop in the unemployment rate.

I will take one more look at this data in regards to retirement and the unemployment rate in a third post.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock