New Year begins with record number of men not in the labor force: Those not in the labor force increased by 1.9 million last year while the labor force increased by only 1.1 million.

The New Year begins with a record number of men not in the labor force.  Those “not in the labor force” remains at a record level and this cannot be explained away simply by shifting demographics.  Demographics alone is a convenient explanation for this large number but unfortunately only explains part of the large number of Americans not being included in the labor force.  We have many going to college but as it turns out, not all colleges and degrees are created equal although most universities charge premium tuition.  You also have many wanting a job but not being able to find one.  The end result is a large number of Americans floating around in the odd category of not being in the labor force. Roughly 94.5 million Americans are not in the labor force.  Of those, a large number are men.

Those not in the labor force starts the year at near record levels

The story of those not in the labor force was severely underreported in the last few years.  It is a vital component of our labor force since the headline unemployment rate is derived from the size of the total labor pool.  Policy decisions are based on this figure being accurate.

A record number of men are not in the labor force.  We have 38,151,000 men not in the labor force to start the year out based on BLS figures.

“(Breitbart) The participation rate for men was 68.6 percent, declining 0.1 percent from October’s level of 68.7 percent. The 68.6 percent participation rate is also a record in a history that goes back as far as January 1948 — the earliest available participation data — when the participation rate for men was 85.2 percent.”

This is a record no matter how you slice it.  It might be useful to see how those not in the labor force grew in 2015:

not in labor force

Those not in the labor force grew by 1,920,000 in 2015, or by an average of 160,000 per month.  But let us now take a look at the actual civilian labor force:

civilian labor force

This category only grew by 1,172,000 in 2015.  There is something going on here beyond older people retiring.  And the idea that people are retiring and doing well is a misnomer.  Most are living under the new retirement plan of working until you die since pensions have been gutted and most people have no money in their retirement plans.  This is a troubling result of turning over our government to financial profiteers that have raided the American workforce.

The rise in healthcare costs is going to put a burden on our older population that makes up the bulk of those not in the labor force.  The perfect example of this was the case of Martin Shkreli that ended up buying the rights for a unique lifesaving drug and jacking up prices by a ridiculous amount.  It wasn’t his company that did the research or found this new drug.  He merely was exploiting the system in a perverse way to his benefit.  He is simply one case of larger systemic issues.

Employment, income, and financial prosperity are the most important issues for Americans.  It is ironic that in 2008 the election was driven largely by the economy.  It is very likely to be driven again by the same thing now that it is official that the middle class is a minority.  Keep an eye out on the labor force participation rate.

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2 Comments on this post

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  1. Opiner said:

    Here are some figures posted by Cheryl Russell of DemoMemo blog which she got from the Bureau of Labor Statistics which account for a lot of them.
    39 million are retired.
    16 million ill or disabled
    16 million in school
    13.5 million caring for home or family
    That accounts for over 83 million

    Concerning men, a lot of men lost jobs in construction and manufacturing after the housing bust and decline in manufacturing.

    This is only going to get worse with time.

    January 5th, 2016 at 9:13 am
  2. Lynn said:

    Don’t commit suicide, live to be a burden on the very society that robbed you of your birthright in prosperity. Mooch, bum and be a general eyesore, hit them for all of their social programs and benefits; no retirement plan? Don’t despair, just haunt the homeless shelters! Free healthcare, food, shelter and a bus pass to the next one! You can spend your days hanging out in the libraries, parks, book stores, certain stores in general or just walking around. Go to the Wednesday night church study and free dinner at a number of them. Go there on Sunday morning for free coffee and donuts, or a free meal. Look for the free dentists at the local health departments. This sorry government created your situation by off-shoring the job base out and not doing anything to restore the opportunity or in-sourcing cheap skills that cut you out of a job that payed anything so that you could have a retirement account. Let the devil have New Age America!

    January 9th, 2016 at 6:06 pm

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