The labor participation rate, the percent of the civilian population in the labor force, is expected to remain flat through at least the end of 2014, according to a new survey. If true, this would mean the U.S. economic recovery will stay about where it is for another year and a half.
Since the end of the Great Recession, the unemployment rate has improved primarily because of a drop in the labor participation rate and not the number of people getting new jobs. From 2006 to 2013, the rate dropped by 2.75 percent, from 66.1 percent to 63.4 percent.
According to a study by Macroeconomic Advisers of St. Louis, that is unlikely to change any time soon.