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The labor participation rate is a statistic that is often considered along with the unemployment rate. The participation rate looks at the percent of people from ages 16 to 120 who are either looking for work or are employed; the compliment to the participation rate is the concealed unemployment rate.

In America, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that the labor participation rate is going to decrease slowly and steadily from the time this report was released in 2006 until it reaches 60.4 percent in 2050. This is due to a number of factors, including the aging baby boomer population reaching retirement age, more students staying in school longer, and a growing middle class increasing the number of households with a stay-at-home parent. Unfortunately, a recession popped up in the meantime, and our current rate of 62.6 (as of May 2016) puts us a little ahead of schedule -- which is not a good thing, as these early losses are presumably from the ranks of people who want to work but have given up looking for work.

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