Here’s a surprising and disheartening statistic – men aged 25 to 54 currently have the lowest labor force participation rate than at any time since 1940. That’s when the Great Depression was ending!
That runs counter to what we hear – that unemployment is under 5 percent and we’re nearing full employment.
But the truth is altogether different.
In fact, roughly one in every six men aged 25 to 54 have no job and aren’t looking for one, so they’re not counted as unemployed (wrongfully so in my opinion). In other words, millions of men have no work skills and no way to get them, so they can’t get a job and are essentially giving up.
If this continues, 20 percent of prime working-age men will be out of the labor force in a generation. And even scarier is that African American men are twice as likely to be in this situation.
Unfortunately, this has been a long time in the making. Over the last half-century, the percentage of men who are 20-years-old or older and have no paid work has risen from 19 to 32 percent. Official unemployment for the group jumped from 6 to 16 percent during the same time period.
So who are these men?
Generally, they’re largely native born, less educated, never married, and African American. Only 10 percent of these men try to improve their situations. The rest are neither employed, in education or training (also known as N.E.E.T.) and spend 3,000 hours yearly on leisure through TV, video games and socializing.
If 20 percent of the work force disappears, it begs two questions. Who will fill the jobs? And what will happen to the N.E.E.T. men?
Any answers to those questions likely won’t benefit America, so something must change.