Education, participation, and the revival of U.S. economic growth

Jorgenson, Dale W. (Dale Weldeau), 1933- author

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  • Labor quality growth captures the upgrading of the labor force through higher educational attainment and greater experience. Our first finding is that average levels of educational attainment of new entrants will remain high, but will no longer continue to rise, so that growing educational attainment will gradually disappear as a source of U.S. economic growth. Our second finding is that the investment boom of 1995-2000 drew many younger and less-educated workers into employment. Participation rates for these workers declined during the recovery of 2000-2007 and dropped further during the Great Recession of 2007-2009. In order to assess the prospects for recovery of participation as a potential source U.S. economic growth, we project the participation rates of each age-gender-education group. Our third finding is that the recovery of participation rates will provide an important opportunity for the revival of U.S. economic growth. Participation rates for less-educated workers are unlikely to recover the peak levels that followed the investment boom of 1995-2000. However, these rates can achieve the levels that preceded the Great Recession. While labor quality will grow more slowly, hours worked will grow much faster.


  • "July 2016"
  • Includes bibliographical references (pages 34-38).
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