Yellen Claims Labor Force Participation Has Fallen Because Baby Boomers Retiring
YELLEN: "If we look over the last six months or so, I would describe labor force participation rate as roughly stable. However, looked at over a longer span, the labor force participation rate has declined very substantially. And I would say that there are two reasons for that. One is demographic and it's something that we should expect to continue going forward. So, as I look forward I am envisioning in coming years a continued secular decline in labor force participation. And that's due to the fact that the baby boomers are entering the retirement years and as the fraction of the population in the retirement years rises it is very natural --"
SESSIONS: "Dr. Yellen, the data show -- at least this recently -- that the over-55 are participating at a higher rate than the under-55. Do you not agree?"
YELLEN: "In looking at the overall trend, that's dominated by the fact that there are an increasing fraction of the labor force in these retirement years. But I do want to emphasize that there's more that's going on here -- at least in my view -- than simply demographics. Because labor force participation is also declined among prime-aged workers and among young people, in part because they're in school a lot more. But I think that some of those declines -- and a portion, probably, of the decline among retirees as well -- is because we have a weak labor market."
SESSIONS: "Well I think we have a weak, slack labor market. I agree with that."