This cartoon suggests that the workforce is not big enough to support the economy. This toon drawn before the Kentucky Derby shows that the economy rides on the back of the labor force.
What facts would support the conclusion of the cartoonist?
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that the labor force participation rate has fallen by about 3% since 2002. The LFPR is found by dividing the Labor Force by the Civilian Noninstitutional Population. As the falling rate suggest, there are less people in the labor force. Historically, the LFPR stood at about 67%. This trend could be interpreted as a cyclical decline. I posit that many jobs have been lost because management is substituting capital for labor and delaying hiring decisions.
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, BEA, GDP growth in the first quarter of 2012 was 2.2%. According the World Bank, population in the United States is about 1% annually and falling. (The World Bank president is from Muscatine, Iowa.)
In my view, there are about 315 million people in the United States and about 154 million actually working. Maybe the cartoon drew the work force out of proportion to the economy, but he made a solid point. It looks like the work force will not be able to carry the US to the finish line. If there is a race, at least the US will finish ahead of Greece.
Here are five more cartoons from Cagle.com.