FRBSF Economic Letter 2018-24 | November 13, 2018. Why Aren’t U.S. Workers Working? Mary C. Daly, Joseph H. Pedtke, Nicolas Petrosky-Nadeau, and Annemarie Schweinert.
“The decline in labor force participation of U.S. men and women ages 25 to 54 stands in stark contrast with other industrialized nations, where participation rates for prime-age workers have increased over time. In this Economic Letter, we show how labor force participation rates have diverged for men and women in the United States and Canada. We find that three-fourths of the difference in participation between the two countries can be explained by the growing gap in labor force attachment of women. We discuss how employment and social policies in Canada have made it easier for women to remain in the labor force while raising children. Our findings suggest that policy interventions to reduce the structural barriers that keep many women on the sidelines could bring millions of prime-age Americans into the labor force.”