The only remaining negative mantra continues to be "Declining Labor Participation Rates." The "logic" goes something like this: even though the unemployment rate is at 5%, the reason is because many people in the jobs market have "given up hope" and stopped looking for work. Although you can always find examples of folks who have given up looking, the broad statement does not prove out in the general population. In fact, the main reason today that folks have stopped looking for work: THEY FEEL SECURE ENOUGH TO RETIRE!
The labor force participation rate, as defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is “the percentage of the population [16 years and older] that is either employed or unemployed (that is, either working or actively seeking work).”
As the BLS has explained well before the great recession, Every year after 2000, the rate declined gradually, from 66.8 percent in 2001 to 66.0 percent in 2004 and 2005. According to the BLS projections, the overall participation rate will continue its gradual decrease each decade and reach 60.4 percent in 2050. Why? Here are the BLS reasons: