Katharine G. Abraham, Melissa Kearney, 17 October 2018

The employment rate among non-elderly adults in the US remains low by historical standards and in comparison with other rich countries. This column reviews the evidence on the main causes of the secular decline in employment since the turn of the century. Labour demand factors – notably import competition from China and the rise of industrial robots – emerge as the key drivers. Some labour supply and institutional factors also have contributed to the decline, but to a lesser extent.

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