America’s ghost legions of idle men

Male employment rate reaches Great Depression-era levels, with nearly 1 out of 6 working-age men no longer looking for employment

depression-eraThe US stock market continues to set new records. Unemployment continues to go down. The United States is now at or near “full employment”. According to a Bloomberg headline last year, “The Jobless Numbers Aren’t Just Good, They’re Great”.

But a closer look at economic data by demographer Nicholas Eberstadt reveals something else entirely. While “unemployment” has gone down, the work participation rate, and especially the male work rate, has been relentlessly declining for most of the post-War era and is now reaching a crisis with Depression-era levels.