Approximately 1.4 million men in their prime working years—age 25-54—have left the workforce since before the Great Recession began, bringing the total number to approximately 7 million.According to data compiled by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics economist Steven Hipple in a recent article, the most common reason those men give is being ill or disabled (up by 400,000 from 2004-2014), followed by going to school (up by approximately the same number), and home responsibilities (up by approximately 200,000 from 2004-2014).
According to the Labor Department, disability or illness accounts for the biggest group of prime-age men not working now—many of them receiving government disability benefits.
Economist Peter Morici at the University of Maryland argues that some of these men—along with others who have simply become discouraged and stopped searching for jobs—could find work.
“Indolence has become a problem with American men,” Morici said. “When I talk about this on the radio, I’ll get email from someone who will say ‘I was a vice president of a PR company, do you really expect me to take a job at a Starbucks?’ My answer to that is yes.”
Economist William Rodgers at Rutgers University’s Heldrich Center for Workforce Development Center insists it’s not that simple.
“From my volunteer work for United Way Worldwide, I just don’t hear that,” he said. “I’m sure you can find me one person who is being lazy and fits that conservative model. But for the most part people want to work, people want to be productive, people want to contribute.”
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor. Read the whole story Why have 1.4 million prime-age men dropped out of work?