Nearly a third of American men aren’t working. These include the unemployed, men who can’t find jobs. But there are two-and-half times more men who aren’t even trying to find a job. Because their lack of work is voluntary, they aren’t counted in the unemployment rate. But the number of men between 25 to 54 who are “economically inactive” is soaring.
This has nothing to do with educational attainment, the business cycle, or the availability of jobs. Many men just don’t feel that traditional masculine impulse to work for a living. Instead they are living off of government benefits, family members, and girl friends. (Women, by contrast, are working in vast numbers. But the men who don’t work tend not to be the marrying kind.)
After the jump, an excerpt and link to George Will’s review of Nicholas Eberstadt’s book on the subject, Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis.
From George Will, America’s ‘quiet catastrophe’: Millions of idle men – The Washington Post:
The “quiet catastrophe” is particularly dismaying because it is so quiet, without social turmoil or even debate. It is this: After 88 consecutive months of the economic expansion that began in June 2009, a smaller percentage of American males in the prime working years (ages 25 to 54) are working than were working near the end of the Great Depression in 1940, when the unemployment rate was above 14 percent. If the labor-force participation rate were as high today as it was as recently as 2000, nearly 10 million more Americans would have jobs.The work rate for adult men has plunged 13 percentage points in a half-century. This “work deficit” of “Great Depression-scale underutilization” of male potential workers is the subject of Nicholas Eberstadt’s new monograph “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis,” which explores the economic and moral causes and consequences of this:
Since 1948, the proportion of men 20 and older without paid work has more than doubled, to almost 32 percent. This “eerie and radical transformation” — men creating an “alternative lifestyle to the age-old male quest for a paying job” — is largely voluntary. Men who have chosen to not seek work are two-and-a-half times more numerous than men who government statistics count as unemployed because they are seeking jobs.