Cessation of Labor Force Growth since 2008
The United States has a long history of population growth and concomitant labor force growth. As the chart below shows, the number of men in the civilian labor force (men either working in paid employment or actively seeking work) increased fairly steadily over the past half-century—at least, until the onset of the current recession.
For the past five years, however, the number of men in the labor force has fluctuated around a fairly level trend line at approximately 82 million. This cessation of growth came on the heels of a 6-million-man increase during the previous seven years.
In the post-World War II era, the number of women in labor force grew even faster than the number of men, and also tended to grow fairly steadily. When the current recession began, the female labor force continued to grow, increasing by about a million women between the officially designated beginning and end of the recession (December 2007 - June 2009). In the second half of 2009, however, this grow stopped, and a slight reversal occurred, putting the total on a lower, fairly level trend line throughout 2010 and 2011, albeit still at a higher level than the female labor force had reached before the recession began.
4 more years, 4 more years, 4 more years, NOT!!!