Best Part of Jobs Report

June 05, 2023
By Steven Vannelli, CFA in Economy, News

Of course, over 300,000 people getting new jobs is good unto itself, particularly for those with newfound opportunity. 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.

But, the real heart of the story is the female prime age participation rate. It has broken out to an all-time high of 77.6%. This level is higher than the pre-pandemic level and the previous peak in 2000.

Today we got new data on the services side of the economy, which just happens to be more female concentrated. Prices paid continue to fall and are now back down to levels consistent with 2-2.5% inflation. Surely some of this progress has been a function of the surge in the female participation rate.

It is reassuring to finally start to see some supply side responses to the economy. Combined with largely mended supply chains, this labor supply response should reassure the Fed that inflationary pressures continue to steadily fall.




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