Originally Posted by otc
wtf have I done....I got into an internet argument with someone over the meaning of certain BLS employment statistics.
I'm right, and they are wrong...they were trying to claim that the labor force participation rate doesn't include people over 65, when the BLS site clearly says it is just 16+ (one of the problems with trying to make claims about the declining participation rate...is that economists all expect it is going to decline simply because boomers are aging out of the job market).
We argued back and forth, I accused him of being unable to provide a citation. He said I was wrong, I continued to ask for a citation that says anything else besides 16+ and he came back with a random internet site that happens to say some rates are limited at 64 (ignoring the ones that don't say that).
I can't just be like "your citation sucks, give a better one" (although really...if you can't cite to the source of the data, it doesn't actually count)...
so instead, I go step by step through the term definitions from the BLS glossary showing that at no point is the denominator cut off at 65 (or in any other way designed to include retired people).
I figure that probably won't convince him either (because he's an idiot), so I also walk him through the math for calculating the participation rate. Here's the table with the raw counts of people broken out by age...see that if we add up EVERYONE, we match exactly the number you are citing. If we only add up 16-64 year olds, we get a significantly different number...ergo the numbers absolutely must include 65+ people...because math.
We'll see if he continues to respond...I can't believe I spent all of this time on this. Also, completely unrelated to the validity of his argument, but from his post history, it appears that he saved himself for marriage (and provides the justification that only a small % of people who save it for marriage get divorced).