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WSJ – Where Workforce Dropouts Are Highest

Dante Chinni: “This week, the issue of labor-force participation became a hot topic in Washington. On Tuesday, a report from the Congressional Budget Office forecast that the Affordable Care Act would drive a reduction in labor-force participation. And Friday’s release of the latest unemployment figures was accompanied by analyses emphasizing improvements in the unemployment picture have been strongly aided by a decline in the number of people actively seeking jobs. The workforce-participation declines predate Barack Obama’s presidency, but they have accelerated on his watch. Since Mr. Obama took office in 2009, the labor force participation rate, a measure of the people 16-or-older looking for work or holding a job, has declined by somewhere around 1.5 to 2 percentage points, depending on the month you choose..Urban places have fared much better than most rural ones and, on a related note, counties that voted for Mr. Obama in 2012 have done better than counties that voted for Republican Mitt Romney. In some ways, Obama and Romney voters are living in different economic realities on this issue, with many of the strongest Obama counties faring best.”

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