Fact Check: White House Says Teenage Layabouts Drove the Labor Force Participation Rate Down

Joe Raedle/NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images
Joe Raedle/NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

Claim: The decline in the labor force participation rate fell in July because fewer teenagers were working.

On Friday, after the Department of Labor’s jobs numbers showed that the labor force participation rate declined from 62.2 percent to 62.1 percent despite employers taking on 528,000 new workers, White House spokesperson Karine Jean-Pierre claimed that the decline as “about teenagers.”

Verdict: False.

While the teenage participation rate did fall in July from a seasonally adjusted 36.6 to 35.8, this represented a decline in the number of teenagers in the labor for of 126,000. That contributed to the decline but it contributed less than the decline in the number of adult men in the labor force.
Men aged twenty and over saw their labor force participation rate decline from 70.1 to 69.9. While smaller in percentage terms than the teenage decline, it was larger in absolute terms because it represented a 183,000 decline in participation. As a result, grown men contributed more than teenagers to the decline in the participation rate. The data show that men aged twenty-five to thirty-four saw their labor force participation drop by 136,000, for a decline from 88.9 to 88.3.

 

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