(Bloomberg) — The US labor force participation rate fell for a third straight month in November, highlighting companies’ continued struggle to find enough workers.
The share of Americans working or actively looking for a job fell to 62.1%, according to government data released Friday. The rate had risen to 62.4% in August, matching a post-pandemic high reached in March, but remains significantly below pre-pandemic levels.
“We got no help from the employment rate, which continues to go in the wrong direction and will keep competition for labor high until the economy inevitably turns around sometime next year,” said Cliff Hodge, chief investment officer at Cornerstone Financial.
Concerns about Covid-19, difficulty finding childcare, early retirements and suppressed immigration have all contributed to a subdued workforce.
The decline in participation is bad news for Federal Reserve officials, who have been aggressively raising interest rates this year to contain inflation. They hoped that the cooling of the economy would lure workers back to jobs. It hasn’t happened yet.
The participation rate of the so-called prime-aged employees, aged 25 to 54, also fell from 82.5% to 82.4%. And it too remains below pre-pandemic levels.
While the participation of both men and women declined, a higher share of female workers left the workforce last month.
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