Macroeconomic data

Labor Force Participation Rate

The labor force participation rate (LFPR) equals labor force divided by population. Female LFPR grew steadily after WWII, then plateaued in the noughts. Male LFPR mostly declined, due to an increasing number of males in retirement. Especially teenagers experienced a reduction in LFPR during the 21st century. Note the conspicuous reduction in LFPR during and following the Great Recession.

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Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate for adult men and women are of similar magnitude, while teenagers have a much higher rate. Note that the unemployment rate lags, in that it peaks at the end or even after a recession (the pink bars). In the recovery after the most recent recession, teenager unemployment has reached historically high levels, and male unemployment has exceeded that of females.

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Producer prices and Consumer prices

There are currently two popular ways to measure inflation in consumer goods prices, one based on the Consumer Price Index (which goes back to 1913) and the other on Personal Consumption Expenditures (the current favorite inflation measure of the Fed). The Producer Price Index provides a measure of inflation for producer goods. Note that producer prices are by far the most volatile, and that they tend to fall sharply during and after recessions (the pink bars). They also appear to lead consumer prices.

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The GDP implicit deflator provides the broadest measure of price changes, and is available from 1947 to the present. There is another series, from 1860 to 1939, that also purports to show general price changes. The gap between the two series corresponds to World War II.

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Crude Oil Prices

Oil prices surged prior to and into the latest recession. Demand for petroleum from newly industrializing countries (most notably China) drove up prices.

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US Gasoline Prices

Gasoline prices track oil prices. Note the post-Katrina spike in gasoline prices (September 2005) due to the hurricane smashing Gulf coast refineries.