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Delaware's Disappearing Labor Force

Omar J. Borla, Director Center for Economic Policy and Analysis | 11/28/2018

The Liberty Foundation of Oklahoma ( today released data on the labor force participation rates from 1999 through 2013 for all states. The trends in Delaware are disturbing (click on the link below for the depressing statistics).   The participation in the labor force by Delaware residents has been on a long downward spiral. Using the last 10 years of complete data (2002-12) Delawares total labor force participation rate has fallen 5.8%.
Reflecting the effects of recent recession, the largest drop was among young people ages 16 to 24, many of whom returned to school. At the other end of the spectrum, the participation rate rose for persons 55 and older as they tried to rebuild the wealth lost during the economic downturn.   By race, blacks were moderately less likely to leave the labor force than were whites, while Hispanics were twice as likely to drop out.
More men left the labor force than did women, although the largest drop-out rate--over 19%--was recorded among Hispanic women.   Obviously, when fewer residents are working, the total wages earned lag along with consumer spending, and eventually the overall growth rate of the economy falls. The hope is that as economic recovery truly takes hold, these drop-out trends will begin to reverse.  
Omar J. Borla, Director Center for Economic Policy and Analysis   Note: This is Borlas first publication as the new Director of the Center for Economic Policy and Analysis at the Caesar Rodney Institute  


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