America’s idle army of ‘unworking men’

America’s idle army of ‘unworking men’

[Ed. – Eberstadt is right.  This IS a crisis.  He asks us to imagine how things would be different if these 7-10 million American men were in the work force.  Well, one way is the very significant increase we would see in GDP.  It’s stupid to fight human nature and not acknowledge that working-age men are the backbone of a people’s economic productivity.  But we’ve been doing that for a good 50 years now, pretending that we lose nothing by devaluing men and their roles in society.  Putting those “unworking men” to “work” would have a bigger economic impact than putting the same number of women to “work.”  How absurd to condemn ourselves to dysfunction, debt, and unsustainable expectations with a zeal for political correctness.]

During the past half-century, work rates for U.S. males spiraled relentlessly downward. America is now home to a vast army of jobless men who are no longer even looking for work—roughly seven million of them age 25 to 54, the traditional prime of working life.

This is arguably a crisis, but it is hardly ever discussed in the public square. Received wisdom holds that the U.S. is at or near “full employment.” …

Near-full employment? In 2015 the work rate (the ratio of employment to population) for American males age 25 to 54 was 84.4%. That’s slightly lower than it had been in 1940, 86.4%, at the tail end of the Great Depression. Benchmarked against 1965, when American men were at genuine full employment, the “male jobs deficit” in 2015 would be nearly 10 million, even after taking into account an older population and more adults in college. …

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What do unworking men do with their free time? Sadly, not much that’s constructive. About a tenth are students trying to improve their circumstances. … “socializing, relaxing and leisure” is a full-time occupation, accounting for 3,000 hours a year, much of this time in front of television or computer screens.

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