Report: Labor force drop had pre-recession roots Report: Labor force drop had pre-recession roots AP photo -- The White House JIM KUHNHENN| Associated Press July 18, 2014 Comments WASHINGTON (AP) — White House economists say the Great Recession is only partly to blame for the increasing number of Americans dropping out of the labor force. They say the reduced participation rate dampens economic growth and demands policy changes that create more job opportunities and adds workers. In a new report, President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers point to an aging population as the biggest single factor contributing to the lowest participation rate in 36 years. The report also says the elevated unemployment rate, which climbed to 10 percent in 2009, drove workers to put off looking for a job. But they cited other factors, including long-term declining rates for 24- to 54-year-old men and a more recent decline in the participation in the labor force by women.