Why Women Aren’t Entering the Workforce Like They Were in the ’90s
President Trump has said repeatedly that jobs are one of his top priorities. He’s promised to add 25 million jobs over eight years (assuming he earns reelection) and his newly-minted Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, has promised our economy will grow at a rate of 3 or 4 percent. (Last year’s growth was 1.6 percent.) But if Trump and Mnuchin are going to deliver on those promises, they’re not going to be able to do it by helping only the white working-class men who make up Trump’s most die-hard supporters.
As Lakshman Achuthan, cofounder of the independent Economic Cycle Research Institute, explained it to me, there are two building blocks to economic growth: the number of workers (laborforce partipation rates, or LFPR) and how much they get done (productivity).
Productivity can be increased, for example, by employing new technology or increasing the education level of workers. Outside of game-changing inventions like combustion engines or the Internet, it’s hard to make huge gains in productivity. The other half —increases to the workforce—only happens as babies grow up and become workers, through immigration, or by encouraging able-bodied adults who are not already working to get a job.