YAHOO NEWS! – Men have been steadily clocking out of the American workforce since pre-pandemic times — even now despite there being millions of job openings and an uncertain economic climate.
While the U.S. labor market remains incredibly tight — with the economy adding another 263,000 jobs in November — around 7 million “prime age” men between the ages of 25 and 54 are reportedly sitting it out.
TV host Mike Rowe said on The Brian Kilmeade Show, citing research from economist Nick Eberstadt.
“They are affirmatively not looking for work. They’ve punched out. They’re done,”
“So what’s really happening in the country now that scares me right to my core fundamentally is that we’ve never had so much unrealized opportunity and so little enthusiasm for it.”
Rowe calls the decline in male participation in the workforce “the most chilling metric of all” since it’s “an indication of what’s to come.”
Why the workforce participation rate is waning
Eberstadt first noted the decline in the number of men with jobs in his 2016 book, Men Without Work — a trend he says was exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While plenty of workers were laid off or left due to illness, not all of them returned to the labor force — even after job openings picked up.
The Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank also found that 25% of prime age Americans aren’t currently working — and while some say they’re looking for jobs, but can’t find any, others are actively choosing not to join the job hunt.
The report points to reasons like caregiving for an elderly parent or child, health-related concerns, retiring early, going to school or joining the military …