The employment-to-population ratio nationally and in Arizona has increased substantially over the last 40 years, with decreases occurring only during economic recessions. Increasing workforce participation among women was the primary factor pushing the ratio higher during the 1970s and 1980s. Since then, the changing age distribution has been a major factor. Gains in the ratio likely will end when the baby-boom generation retires.
The employment-to-population ratio dropped an unusual amount between 2008 and 2010, reflecting the length and depth of the recession. The ratio fell considerably more in Arizona than the national average. Gains in the ratio occurred in 2011, 2012, and 2013, with slightly smaller increases each year in Arizona relative to the nation.