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State Labor Force Participation Rates

Labor force participation rates have steadily declined in recent years. View totals for each state.

Labor force participation -- those either employed or looking for work -- has declined in nearly all states since the recession began.

The national labor force participation rate had fallen 2.4 percent to 63.6 percent as of May, the lowest level since 1981. Utah and other states have experienced significant shifts in recent years. Only Virginia's participation rate has increased since 2008.

Job losses account for part of the decrease, with some workers ending their search for work and exiting the labor force. Demographics also explain much of the rate changes. States with high populations of young people and those near retirement age tend to be more affected when the economy takes a hit.

Select a state below to view figures dating back to the start of the recession in December 2007:

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