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Five ways the Great Recession changed the workforce
Eli Dile   on Wednesday, December 20, 2017 at 12:00:00 am

Nearly ten years after its onset, the Great Recession is still with us in many ways. The U.S. workforce has experienced significant, structural change since 2008. The Pew Research Center sums up some of the most notable trends in a recent FactTank release.

1. A smaller share of Americans are in the labor force. As of October 2017, just 62.7 percent of prime working age adults were working or looking for work, down from 66 percent in late 2007.

2. The workforce is getting more diverse. Since 2007, the following demographic changes have occured:

  • The share of Hispanic workers grew from 14.3 percent to 17 percent.

  • Foreign-born workers grew from 15.6 percent to 17.1 percent.

  • U.S.-born, non-Hispanic white workers declined from 65.3 percent to 60 percent.

3. The workforce is aging. The portion of workers over the age of 55 grew from 17.6 percent to 22.8 percent since the start of the recession. This is the only segment of the workforce to show gains in labor force participation.

4. Unemployed people are out of work longer. Since December 2007, the share of those unemployed for more than a year grew from 9.1 percent to 16.5 percent.

5. The shift to service jobs continues, but at a slower pace. Service jobs now make up 83.9 percent of all jobs, up from 81.1 percent in 2007. Meanwhile, jobs in goods-producing sectors (including manufacturing) fell from 18.9 percent to 16.1 percent.


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