The population is growing, yet the work force is shrinking. In 2000, the civilian labor force participation rate (LFPR) peaked at more than 67 percent. In May of this year, it stands at 63.8 percent. What gives? The recession plays a role, as many chronically unemployed people have given up searching for a job and no longer count themselves as part of the labor force. But there are a variety of other long-term possibilities as to why the labor force participation rate has fallen. According to San Diego State University, baby boomers are starting to retire, and statistically speaking, there
are not enough younger workers to replace them. Some spouses, particularly women who previously worked outside the home, have decided to exit the labor force due to large increase in their husbands’ salaries.
Social Security Disability claims may be having an impact as well.
- Since the beginning of 2009, more than 5 million people have applied for Social Security disability. About one and one-half million have started receiving benefits. In 1980, about 2.8 million workers were receiving disability, along with about 1.8 million of their dependents.
- By 2010, those numbers had increased to 8.2 million workers and 2.1 million dependents (not including adult disabled children).
- To put this
in context, in 1980 about, 3 percent of the working age population (ages 18 to 65) received disability payments. In 2010, more than 5 percent of the working age population received disability payments.
Who receives Disability benefits and why? And what impact does this have on the future of the program? Read more from the latest NCPA publication, Disability versus Work.