Where have all the workers gone?

“Something is rotten in the U.S. economy. Poor men without a college degree are disappearing from the labor force. The share of prime-age men (ages 25-54) who are neither working nor looking for work has doubled since the 1970s.” — The Atlantic

“The U.S.’s labor participation rate for this group of men is lower than every country in the OECD except for Israel (an outlier, because of the high number of non-working Orthodox Jewish men) and Italy (an economic omnishambles). Today, one in six prime-age men in America are either unemployed or out of the workforce altogether—about 10 million men. So, this is the 10-million-man question: Where did all these guys go?”

pasted image 0Students, stay-at-home dads, and burgeoning prison populations don’t account for it. On the other hand, there’s a clear connection between limited education and workforce dropout rates (see chart). A big factor seems to be male-dominated factory and construction jobs being replaced by female-dominated service jobs. Read story here.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is suffering an acute shortage of affordable housing. This article suggests the solution is putting unemployed males to work building low-income housing. But Republicans, who racked up trillions of dollars of public debt to finance tax cuts for the rich that never trickled down to the working classes, refuse to fund spending that helps solve the country’s problems and benefit its people. The only solution to that is turning out for elections and voting to replace those Republicans with a more public-spirited Congress.

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