One in six working age males in America has no job.
— NPR (@NPR) September 7, 2016
At 4.9 percent, the nation’s unemployment rate is half of what it was at the height of the Great Recession. But that number hides a big problem: Millions of men in their prime working years have dropped out of the workforce — meaning they aren’t working or even looking for a job.
It’s a trend that’s held true for decades and has economists puzzled.
In the 1960s, nearly 100 percent of men between the ages of 25 and 54 worked. That’s fallen over the decades.
In a recent report, President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers said 83 percent of men in the prime working ages of 25-54 who were not in the labor force had not worked in the previous year. So, essentially, 10 million men are missing from the workforce.
“One in six prime-age guys has no job; it’s kind of worse than it was in the depression in 1940,” says Nicholas Eberstadt, an economic and demographic researcher at American Enterprise Institute who wrote the book Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis. He says these men aren’t even counted among the jobless, because they aren’t seeking work.
Eberstadt says little is known about the missing men. But there are factors that make men less likely to be in the labor force — a lack of college degree, being single, or being black…
…Indeed, economists say technology and overseas competition are displacing many jobs.