For the most part, the jobs numbers released Friday were great: stronger-than-expected job growth, near-record-low unemployment, hiring across most major sectors of the economy. None of these measures signals an economy in recession, despite widespread perceptions among voters that we’re already in one. One troubling puzzle remains, though. Where did all the workers go? Labor force participation — the share of adults either working or actively looking for work — plummeted early in the pandemic. Which was not surprising under the circumstances. Lots of businesses shuttered as customers stayed home; many Americans who were worried about exposure to illness decided to avoid offices or other workplaces for a while; and childcare was in unusually short supply, pulling parents out of the workforce.
Rampell: Where are the workers, really?
December 5, 2022