local | Economy

Study Looks At Reasons Why The Workforce Is Shrinking

OPB | Jan. 22, 2014 2:33 p.m. | Updated: Jan. 22, 2014 5:37 p.m. | Portland

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New labor statistics show a rise in the number of Oregonians who are not in the workforce. Numbers released Wednesday indicate nearly 40 percent of people 16 and older who do not have a job are not looking for work.

Reasons why Oregonians are not in the work force. Click to enlarge image.

Reasons why Oregonians are not in the work force. Click to enlarge image.

Courtesy Oregon Office of Economic Analysis

A recent national survey suggests several reasons people are dropping out of the labor force. Some people are going to school. Others are taking care of family. Still others are retiring as early as their mid-fifties.

In Oregon, there’s been an increase in the number of people who have either left — or who never joined — the workforce. The survey asked people why. Oregon’s Office of Economic Analysis looked into what people in the state had to say.

Josh Lehner is an economist with the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis.  He says one reason is that the state’s population is aging.

Lehner explained, “It’s a combination of aging and some of these broader societal trends of looking after family and things like that.”


But he says the fact that younger people are in school should be good for the economy in the long run. 

The study was conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Lehner says the margin of error for the state’s portion of the survey is plus or minus 4.5 percent.

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