ore workers mean more production and more growth, and the eye-popping spike in labor participation perhaps indicates that increasing economic confidence is drawing some of these lost workers back into our economy.
This is especially welcome news for minority communities, which tend to have higher unemployment rates than white Americans. The Washington Post reported, for instance, that the “unemployment rate for black men is the lowest it has been since December 1973. Hispanic unemployment is still near its low.”
Disengaged citizens — absent the dignity that comes with working and being a productive member of society — may feel happier today (research indicates some younger disengaged citizens are perfectly content to sit in front of screens and video games all day in their parents’ basements), but ultimately will miss out on building lives that will make them happier when they become middle-aged.
So let’s hope Friday’s good news on jobs and labor participation portends a reversal of a bad trend — Americans not working or looking for work. The prime age (25-54) labor participation rate sits at 82.2%, a number not seen since a swoon in this metric began in 2010 and after a slow and steady increase since December 2016.
Recovering this generation of lost workers and helping them forge productive lives for themselves, their families and their communities would be one of the best possible outcomes of the Trump presidency.