Business Report: A possible wild card factor in labor force part - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Business Report: A possible wild card factor in labor force participation

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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

As the jobless rate has fallen, it has been suggested that part of that is people dropping out of the work force altogether. They're not counted as unemployed because they're not looking for work. A researcher for Deutschebank noticed something interesting – a bit of a correlation between labor force participation and opioid use. Here's his chart. Hawaii is in the middle for workforce participation, and low on the opioid use scale. States with a lot of opioid prescriptions and a lot of workforce dropouts include West Virginia, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas. Which is suspicious, because they have something else in common besides opioid use – a low number of residents with college education. That has been a more traditional explanation for workforce dropouts – people giving up because they simply lack the training or education for the jobs that are out there.

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