Workers Are Coming off the Sidelines

Off the Charts: The Visual Says It All

Business people shaking hands in the office.
•••

VioletaStoimenova

U.S. workers are back on the job in more ways than one.

Not only has the economy recovered most of the jobs it lost when the pandemic hit, but more people are joining the workforce. The labor force participation rate—that is, how many people 16 and older are either working or actively looking for it—edged up to 62.4% in March from 62.3% in February, and has been steadily improving for several months, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As the chart below shows, the rate plummeted to 60.2% from 63.4% when the pandemic hit in 2020 and, after an initial recovery, more or less stalled out until last fall. 

With pandemic-era government aid gone, consumer prices increasing, plenty of jobs to apply for, and rising wages making the positions more lucrative, working is looking like a better option for a lot of people these days, economists said. 

Have a question, comment, or story to share? You can reach Diccon at dhyatt@thebalance.com.

Want to read more content like this? Sign up for The Balance’s newsletter for daily insights, analysis, and financial tips, all delivered straight to your inbox every morning!

Article Sources

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics. “Labor Force Participation Rate.”