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The U.S. Labor Force Is Smaller Today Than in the Past 30 Years

By: Andrew Lundeen, Kyle Pomerleau

The global financial crisis impacted the U.S. labor force. The U.S. employment-to-population ratio, which reflects the number of working-age individuals who are employed, declined from 63 percent in 2007 to about 58 percent in 2009, the largest decline in the past 50 years.

Even as the economy has slowly recovered, the labor market has not. The employment-to-population ratio remains below 60 percent, levels we have not seen since the late 1970s and early 1980s.

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