Tags: workforce | participation | Liberty Foundation | economy

Liberty Foundation Teams Up to Tackle National Workforce Woes

By    |   Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 01:53 PM

Free-market think tanks in 32 states are working with The Liberty Foundation of America to address falling workforce participation, which has plummeted to lows not seen since the 1970s.

The Liberty Foundation announced the project with the release of reports for all 50 states and the District of Columbia listing workforce participation rankings, charting trends from 1999 to 2013 and detailing rate changes across a range of demographics.

"The goal is to educate the public on how the economy over the last several years is really doing, especially as we approach an opportunity to determine the policy direction of the country," Liberty Foundation Chief Operating Officer Matt Mayer told Watchdog.org via email. "We hope our partners outreach into nontraditional communities given how poor their labor force participation rate is."

Liberty Foundation's announcement of the project highlighted several especially troubling workforce participation statistics, including five-year declines of 11 percent for Hispanics and 6 percent for blacks in Arkansas and a four-year drop of almost 4 percent for all Alaskans.

Mayer's own Opportunity Ohio is among the 32 nonprofits working to inform their states about a national trend that only worsened after the 2007 recession. Liberty Foundation, which emphasizes competitive federalism, aims to help states determine the best policies for boosting workforce participation while coordinating opposition to harmful policies from D.C.

In the initial study, North Dakota and Washington, D.C., were outliers because their labor force participation rates increased between 1999 and 2013.

"North Dakota is the strongest state due to the Bakkan formation energy opportunity and how they have leveraged it," Mayer explained. "The District of Columbia also did well, but that is due to the growth of government, which isn't a good thing."

North Dakota has seen a boom in job creation from the use of horizontal hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, to extract oil and natural gas from the Bakkan shale formation.

Almost every other state had lower workforce participation in 2013 than in 2009, following years of increased deficit spending on public infrastructure and other federal "stimulus" programs. Only North Dakota, Washington, D.C., Nebraska, and Maine saw workforce participation rates increase from 2009 to 2013.

Workforce participation rates dropped by 3 percent or more in 13 states during the same period, and dropped by 3 percent or more in 37 states from 1999-2013. By 2013, a total of 36 states had lower workforce participation rates than the January 1999 national rate of 67.2 percent.

Jason Hart is a reporter for Watchdog.org and Ohio Watchdog.  jhart@watchdog.org



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Free-market think tanks in 32 states are working with The Liberty Foundation of America to address falling workforce participation, which has plummeted to lows not seen since the 1970s.
workforce, participation, Liberty Foundation, economy
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2014-53-09
Thursday, 09 Oct 2014 01:53 PM
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