Mar 8, 2024 - Economy

Charted: Quiet labor force boom

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

There's an important feature that distinguishes the job market from years past: a booming share of prime-age workers in the labor force, Axios' Courtenay Brown writes.

  • The labor force participation rate of those aged 25–54 — that is, the share who are employed or looking for work — was 83.5% in February, the government said today.

That's the high of this economic cycle, last reached in June 2023. Before that, you have to go back more than 20 years to find a similar participation rate for this cohort.

Why it matters: Prime-age workers have entered the workforce in droves as the economy recovered from the pandemic shock — helped by plentiful jobs, strong wage growth and remote work, among other factors.

  • That's particularly the case for women, whose participation rate was just 0.1% below the highest on record in February.

More on the February jobs report

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This story was an excerpt from Axios Closer, a recap on the day's biggest business stories.

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