Lane County Labor Force Participation Rates Follow the National TrendOctober 18, 2016 Lane County is following the national trend of a declining labor force participation rate. The two primary reasons are also likely the same as for the national data.
First, there are accelerating Baby Boom generation retirements. The data measures those who are either working or unemployed divided by the population above the age of 16. As people retire, they come out of numerator and stay in the denominator, dropping the rate. Remember, to be counted as unemployed, you must be actively looking and able for work, so a retired person is not counted as unemployed.
Second, today's young people are concentrating on school instead of work compared with previous generations. Shifting industry trends where there are fewer good-paying jobs that only require a high school diploma put a premium on education. This means that young people stay in school longer and often put off entering the labor force. The trend can be seen in the labor force participation rate trend for teens. The labor force participation rate dropped for teens before and during the last recession. It has since leveled off, but at historically low levels.