SUMMARY: In the Spring of 2016, the Social Security Advisory Board commissioned a panel of five prominent labor economists and charged them with (1) evaluating the assumptions of the Social Security Board of Trustees and the methods employed by the Office of the Chief Actuary as they pertain to the projections of the size of the labor force and rates of labor force participation; and with (2) making recommendations as to how those assumptions and methods could best be improved. The Technical Panel on Labor Force Participation was chaired by Robert A. Moffitt, Krieger-Eisenhower Professor of Economics at Johns Hopkins University. The other members include: Gary Burtless, John C. and Nancy D. Whitehead Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution; Chinhui Juhn, Henry Graham Professor of Economics at the University of Houston; Kevin M. Murphy, George J. Stigler Distinguished Service Professor of Economics in the Department of Economics and Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago; and Kathleen McGarry, Professor of Economics at UCLA.
Read: The Final Report of the Technical Panel on Labor Force Participation
Chart Appendix A: Male labor force participation rates by age group (with comparison of OCACT projections with linear extrapolation from 1971-2007 and 1971-2015)
Chart Appendix B: Female labor force participation rates by age group (with comparison of OCACT projections with linear extrapolation from 1971-2007 and 1971-2015)
Read: Executive Summary
Presentation Slides: The Panel's Final Report by Robert Moffitt, Chair of the Technical Panel, to the Social Security Advisory Board, June 30, 2017
Response from the Office of the Chief Actuary:
Read: "Perspective" on the Panel's report from SSA's Office of the Chief Actuary, June 29, 2017
Presentation Slides: OCACT's perspective on the Technical Panel report
Supplemental material from the proceedings of the
Technical Panel on Labor Force Participation
1. Panel Charter
2. Material from the Office of the Chief Actuary
A. Long-range OASDI Projection Methodology (Intermediate Assumptions of the 2016 Trustees Report)
B. PRESENTATION: Labor Force participation rate projections, OCACT. June 2016.
C. HANDOUTS: OCACT model description tables (variables, decomposition of changes).June 2016.
D. DATA: 2016 Labor Force Participation Rates historical and projected by age and sex, (Trustees intermediate). EXCEL
E. Recession sensitivity test. The effect on OASDI trust fund balances of a 1.5% drop in total LFPR
F. DATA: Decomposition of projected OCACT LFPRs vs BLS actual (using current model as if projected for period 2000-2007)
3. Material from the Federal Reserve Board
A. PRESENTATION: Projecting the Participation Rate, Stephanie Aaronson, Federal Reserve Board, June 2016
B. Related reading:
"Labor Force Participation: Recent Developments and Future Prospects” by Stephanie Aaronson, Tomaz Cajner, Bruce Fallick, Felix Galbis-Reig, Christopher Smith and William Wascher, Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Fall 2014.
4. Material from the Congressional Budget Office
A. DATA: CBO LFPR projections by age and sex September 2016
B. DATA: CBO LFPR projections by age and sex, updated, March 2016 (produced for the 2017 Long-term Budget Outlook)
C. Related readings:
Reports of previous Technical Panels: 1999, 2003, 2007, 2011, 2015