Of course, over 300,000 people getting new jobs is good in itself, particularly for those with newfound opportunities. But, for the last several years, as the “great resignation” took hold, there were not many new workers coming into the workforce, leading to falling unemployment. This has been particularly acute among the 65+ workers. Their participation fell from about 21% to 19% and has stayed there, not recovering.
But, in last Friday’s jobs report, we see that the prime-age labor force participation rate has risen back to levels last seen in 2008, eclipsing the pre-pandemic level.
If we decompose, we can see that the male prime-age participation rate has recovered significantly from the pandemic lows. While it hasn’t exceeded pre-pandemic levels, it’s getting close. If it does reach pre-pandemic levels in the months to come, it will move the rate back to 2009 levels.