An article in the Roanoke Times the challenges of both Baby Boomers continuing to work and Gen Y looking for their niche. But the real news, about labor participation, comes a few paragraphs down:

“The overall labor force participation rate — the percentage of the population either working or actively looking for work — has been around 62 percent in recent months, a nearly four-decade low,” the article said.

The overall numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics are skewed even more dramatically given that the percentage of workers over 55 has been rising steadily since 2002.

“Meanwhile, people in the 25-34 age range — prime working years — have experienced a drop in labor participation rates to 81 percent this year from about 84 percent since 2002. Similar trend lines are shown for people in the 35-44 and 45-54 age groups,” the article says.

“The decline in the participation rate of people in their prime working age may be caused by a skills mismatch,” said Christine Chmura, CEO and chief economist at Richmond-based Chmura Economics & Analytics. “For example, people who are losing their jobs in manufacturing do not have the skills to work in industries that are expanding, such as health care.”

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