U.S. ECONOMICS: Philadelphia Fed's Plosser Sees Demographics, Tech-Skill Shortfall Weighing on Labor Force Participation


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Philadelphia Fed President, and voting member of the FOMC, Charles Plosser on Monday answered critics who claim the 6.3% jobless rate is due mainly to job seekers giving up.

"Labor force participation rates can also decline for demographic reasons" not just because of discouraged workers who have stopped looking for a job, said Plosser, during a speech on the revitalization of older communities.

Plosser believes that declining labor force participation over the past seven years is due to increased retirement and "movements into disability."

Plosser expressed his concern, however, with the "mismatch of skills" between employees and the type of skills needed by employers. Plosser believes that "we are simply not keeping pace" in providing employers with technologically-sophisticated employees, specifically those trained in science, technology, engineering and math, also known as STEM disciplines.

The Department of Commerce estimates that STEM employment grew at three-times the rate of non-STEM employment in the past decade and is "projected to grow at twice the rate of non-STEM jobs through 2018.

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