Political  Calculations

What's the real story with the changing age distribution of working Americans over the previous five years? We've previously shown that large declines in the working population of the U.S. has taken place across all age groups, but how much of that might be considered to be normal, such as in the case of retirement, and how much might due to other factors? Which age groups have been hurt the most during the Great Recession, and are there any that have made out the best?

To find out, we need to go back to the Employment to Population ratio that Jed Graham used to make his original point, only we'll calculate it for each of the age groupings for which the BLS collects data for both November 2006 and November 2011. We're doing a direct comparison of each of the five-year age cohorts we have been considering, so we'll capture the shift in the age distribution of the U.S. civilian labor force, with respect to the non-institutionalized population for each over that time.

Doing this will allow us to take factors like retirement into account for older Americans. Since the data for November 2006 is well outside the period covered by the so-called "Great Recession", being just over a year before that recession would rear its ugly head, comparing the more recent U.S. workforce data for November 2011 to it will allow us to see what percentage of people in each age range might have been pushed out from participating in the U.S. labor force by other factors, at least with respect to what we'll call a "normal", non-recessionary year like 2006.

Our results are presented in our first chart below:

Employment to Population Ratio by Age Group, November 2006 and November 2011

Political Calculations

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