Friday Roundup: Jobs Edition

Everyone had their eyes on the labor market this week, so it leads the Friday charts roundup.

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The Congressional Budget Office isn’t always the sexiest government agency, but it took over the news this week with a report that made everyone, as economists say, get their undies in a bundle. Data Mine would be remiss if that knicker-twisting story didn’t lead off the Friday chart roundup.

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The CBO Says the Labor Force Will Keep Shrinking. Yes, the CBO’s numbers on the Affordable Care Act caused the biggest fuss, but since it’s jobs day, here’s a look at what the agency says about the labor force. The labor force participation rate has been pulling the unemployment rate down, in part because discouraged workers have quit their job searches. However, there’s more at work: The CBO says half of the recent decline has been due to demographic shifts, like older workers leaving the labor force. That, in addition to Obamacare’s effects on workers’ hours, will help pull participation down in the future.


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The Scariest Jobs Chart Ever. Yes, this is a chart we've seen over and over during the recovery, but it's always chilling. Business Insider pulls it from the Calculated Risk blog, showing us just how deep the nation's job losses went and just how long the recovery has been.

The Sochi Olympics Are Costing a Lot. They’re costing an estimated $51 billion, to be more precise … which may not mean much to the average person, until that person looks at this chart shared by ThinkProgress. Apparently, the Sochi Olympics will be more costly than all prior Winter Olympics combined. All that money, and the toilets are still confusing.

Super Bowl Ads Are Really Expensive. Businessweek breaks down the numbers, finding that a 30-second ad cost $4 million this year and is on track to cost $6 million by the 2020s and $8 million in the 2030s. Those may be staggering figures, but even more fascinating is that viewership is leveling off while costs climb, meaning those rising ad costs could make for some serious diminishing returns.

The Recession Made Us Smarter. One silver lining from that whole massive-economic-crisis thing we had: People got more educated, as Wonkblog explains, with the number of degrees earned picking up substantially. One explanation is that as the job market slowed down, many people turned to school to get more credentials and skills for when the job market eventually healed.