Posts Tagged "employees"

One Reason the US Labor Force is Shrinking

U.S. industries have become increasingly concentrated in the 21st century, leaving fewer employers in local labor markets. This is not good for workers.

The simplest example is a town with one company in the business of producing widgets. The company has little competition when hiring widget workers and can pay them lower wages.

A new study finds that the increase in employer concentration – one or a few firms that dominate locally – has played a role in the 20-year decline in labor force participation in the United States. When workers have fewer employment options and wages are lower, looking for and finding a job is a more difficult, less fruitful pursuit. Some give up and drop out of the labor force.

Employer concentration “push[es] marginally attached workers out of the labor force entirely,” concluded Anqi Chen, Laura Quinby and Gal Wettstein at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.

Their research builds on several recent studies showing that when firms possess more bargaining power with workers, they can drive down wages. This new study is the first to make a direct link between employer concentration and its impact on employment activity.

Labor force participation – the share of adults of all ages who are either working or looking for a job – is lower in concentrated markets, the researchers found. Actual employment levels are also lower, though this is mainly the case for teenagers and workers in their 20s. …
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