White House Says Teenage Layabouts Drove The Labor Force Participation Rate Down

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Claim: In July, the participation rate in the labor force fell because there were fewer teenagers working.

After Friday’s Department of Labor jobs numbers revealed that labor force participation rates declined from 62.2 percent and 62.1 percent, despite 528,000 workers being hired by employers, Karine Jean-Pierre, White House spokesperson, claimed that this was “about teenagers”.

Verdict: False.

The teenage participation rate fell from 36.6 to 35.7 in July, but this was a decrease in the number of teens working in the labor force for 126,000. This contributed to the decline, but less than the decline of the number adult men working in the labor market.

The labor force participation rate for men aged 20 and older fell from 70.1 percent to 69.9. Although it was smaller than the decline experienced by teenagers, it was much larger in absolute terms due to the 183,000 drop in participation. The decline in participation rate was largely due to grown men contributing more than teens. Data show that the participation rate of men aged between 25 and 34 fell by 136,000 from 88.9 and 88.3.

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