Structural or Cyclical Problems?

One good reason for studying and understanding economics is that it can concentrate the mind and alleviate any tendencies to think “one side or the other” is evil and incompetent, as so much of U.S. political discourse would illustrate.

And with the caveat that long-term trends are difficult to discern without lots of data, collected over long periods of time (I am sitting at 5,278 feet, in an area that once was an inland sea), a rational person might at least hold open for discussion the notion that something “big” has changed, regarding the U.S. economy.

Look at the history of labor force participation rates (recessions marked by gray columns). The data might suggest there is something structural going on. And that is a tougher problem than a shorter-term cyclical problem.

If you care about people being able to find jobs, this is a big problem.

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