While discussing an admittedly flawed online poll asking whether or not the Americans responding would consider leaving the United States to go live in another country (with 55 percent of millennials responding in the affirmative due to the economy) the yappers on Fox's The Five did their best to try to pretend that the economy hasn't been improving during the Obama administration, and to push the latest right wing talking points about the declining labor participation rates.
Co-host Kimberly Guilfoyle also used the opportunity to attack millennials as a bunch of lazy moochers who just want free stuff. How dare they want to live in a country where they have a chance to get a good education, have adequate health care coverage and a job that pays a living wage?
PAVLICH: Guess who created the economy? Obama. That's who they voted for.
GUILFOYLE: I know... but...there is. There's such a disconnect there. There's this ignorance, right? I mean, I don't know. Who is giving these people degrees? That's a basic thing to figure out. You don't like it. You're upset about the economy. Who's in office. Why are you complaining about it? Do something. Exercise this vote. But they want a hand out instead of doing something about it, exercising their vote, being proactive about getting a job, instead of feeling entitled to be handed it to them. That's the thing I was saying. Work for free! Get a mentor!
When Juan Williams told the lot of them it was nothing but a bunch of sour grapes and that they just wanted to attack the President, Eric Bolling immediately started griping about the labor participation rate in the latest jobs report, which sadly, I've seen attacked on other networks as well with no context, and not just on Fox.
FactCheck.org did a nice job of breaking down what's behind those declining labor force numbers and debunking the sort of clap trap the audience was treated to in the clip above.
Republicans have tried to temper the latest jobs report — which showed a gain of nearly 300,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dipping to 5.5 percent — by noting that the labor force participation rate has continued to decline. But in at least two instances, the claims have gone too far.
- Sen. Lindsey Graham said the labor participation rate “is at an all-time low.” That’s not accurate. It was lower between 1948 and 1978.
- Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus blamed the shrinking participation rate on “the Obama economy,” but economists say most of the decline, which has been happening for more than a decade, is due to demographics, including the trend of baby boomers reaching retirement age and deciding to no longer work.
In a town hall speech in South Carolina on the day the jobs report was released, President Obama pointed to the job growth and declining unemployment rate as evidence that “we’re in much better shape now than we were six years ago.”
The same day, RNC Chairman Priebus issued a statement warning that the “unemployment rate masks the low labor force participation rate” and said that “in the Obama economy” the “percentage of Americans in the labor force has shrunk to levels not seen since the 1970s.” [...]
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).” Graham, who is considering running for president, is wrong about the rate being at an all-time low. However, as Priebus said, it is at its lowest point since the 1970s — 1978 to be exact.
The following graph from BLS shows the civilian labor force participation rate between 1948 and 2015. As the graph shows, the participation rate in February 2015 (62.8 percent) is the lowest since March 1978. But the rate was lower than that every month between 1948 and 1978. [...]
The low point — according to historical data going back to 1948 — came in December 1954, when the rate was 58.1 percent.
As for Priebus tying the participation rate to the “Obama economy,” there’s more to that story as well. The labor force participation rate has been declining for more than a decade, and economists predict it will continue to decline for the next decade and more. [...]
Among the reasons cited for the trend:
1) The aging of baby boomers. A lower percentage of older Americans choose to work than those who are middle-aged. And so as baby boomers approach retirement age, it lowers the labor force participation rate.
2) A decline in working women. The labor force participation rate for men has been declining since the 1950s. But for a couple decades, a rapid rise in working women more than offset that dip. Women’s labor force participation exploded from nearly 34 percent in 1950 to its peak of 60 percent in 1999. But since then, women’s participation rate has been “displaying a pattern of slow decline.”
3) More young people are going to college. As BLS noted, “Because students are less likely to participate in the labor force, increases in school attendance at the secondary and college levels and, especially, increases in school attendance during the summer, significantly reduce the labor force participation rate of youths.”
So no matter who was president, and independent of the health of the economy, BLS projected in 2006 that labor force participation rates were going to go down. Read on...