Employment Landscape is Changing

 Most of us know that jobs have changed in our country. The advent of the internet and online (e-commerce) business and smartphones have had a tremendous impact on the way we work and our understanding of work.

Manufacturing has to a large degree, left the US and moved to countries that have billions of low-paid laborers. Although “brick-and-mortar” retail hasn’t fully disappeared, it’s nothing like it used to be. Amazon has also changed the way we purchase, now done from home.

And then there was Covid.

When billions of people didn’t die, Draconian measures were taken to cripple the world’s economies. Some countries were hit worse than others and we still don’t know what effects this will have on us in the next few years.

However, something has happened behind the scenes here in our country. There’s something called “labor force participation rate” (LFPR) It’s an estimation of the economy’s active workforce and has been around for a few years. The formula is the number of people ages 16 and older who are employed or actively seeking employment, divided by the total non-institutionalized, civilian working-age population. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (published monthly), the LFPR for May ’22 is at 62.3%.

For the last 9 years, that figure held steadily around 63%. Covid caused this to dip as low as 60.2%. The rate has essentially been falling from a recent high of 67.2% in Dec. “97. To give you a frame of reference, the all-time high was 87.4% in 1949.

What this means is that there are a large number of people in this country who are no longer working regular jobs. Last month there were 11.4M open jobs in the US. According to Indeed.com (a job listing site), employers are asking people to come back to the office. However, there are 6x the number of job searches for remote jobs than onsite jobs.

Clearly, things have changed. The LFPR suggests that there are a large number of American workers that are not looking for a job. Whether they are self-employed or working in an online business is hard to tell.

But we know things are changing.

I don’t have a crystal ball, so I can’t say what’s to come.

But it will be interesting and challenging.

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