Friday, July 07, 2006

Women in the Labor Force

One of the most profound changes in the U.S. labor force over the past half century has been the gradual but substantial increase in female labor-force participation, from 33 percent in 1950 to about 60 percent now.

In today's Washington Post, Nell Henderson says the trend appears to be over:
But women's rush to employment stopped in 2000 and started to decline, as they began to join their male counterparts in retirement, go out on disability and delay paid employment to get more education. Some economists think the high-water mark of female participation in the labor force was in 2000, when it hit 60.3 percent.
A corollary: Growth in potential GDP may well be less in the future than it was in the past.