The drop in the labor force is coming from prime-age Americans, not aging retirees: Examining the 94.6 million Americans not in the labor force.
Those not in the labor force hit a record number in the last month. While the mainstream press tries to spin it as a retirement trend, the reality is most Americans are too broke to retire. The Atlanta Fed added some color to explain the big decline in labor force participation. As it turns out, the decline is coming from structurally problematic areas. We have many that are in the prime-age category (25 to 54 years of age) that simply say they don’t want a job. There is also a big jump in those on disability beyond normal population growth. And finally, we have a larger share of younger Americans going to college and loading up on mega amounts of student debt. Another contributing factor that is nicely left out is that we have many older Americans continuing to work into old age because as we have mentioned, many older Americans are too broke to retire. Let us look at the research more closely.
Renters are paying too much and their burden is only going to increase: How financial policies gouge working class Americans.
A recent report by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies showed an absolutely dismal housing situation for Americans. Housing is unaffordable for most working class Americans. Sure you can take on a gigantic mortgage with a low interest rate and pretend all is fine but you are simply chaining yourself to the bank for 30 years if you don’t run your numbers correctly. In large part the homeownership rate has fallen because home prices are out of reach to Americans. Many are relegated to renting. The study from Harvard found that renters are being financially squeezed at unprecedented levels. How is this measured? The study looked at how much household income was being used to pay for monthly rents. As it turns out, Americans are paying an ungodly amount of money in rents per month and much of this is flowing to new corporate landlords thanks to banking friendly bailouts.
Labor force catastrophe with more than half a million dropping out of the labor force: Record 94.6 million Americans not in the labor force.
The latest employment report was a complete disaster. The only reason the unemployment rate remained unchanged was because a stunning 579,000 people dropped out of the labor force in one month. We now have a record 94.6 million Americans categorized as not being in the labor force. This massive drop cannot be explained by the weak narrative that many people are simply entering retirement. We’ve already gone into great detail how retirement is a pipedream for many and the new retirement plan for many older Americans is working until the wheels go flying off. To demonstrate how insane the stock market is, there was a surge because now market players sense that the Fed is going to continue its low rate policy that essentially keeps distorted interest rates going. What we are witnessing in the employment market is simply statistical shenanigans that even the public doesn’t believe anymore.
The middle class destruction train is moving full steam ahead if we are to examine Census figures closely. And the American male has a first-class ticket on this express train to wage destruction. According to the recently released Census figures full-time working males are earning less than they did in 1973 adjusting for inflation. Purchasing power matters greatly even though there is this ongoing narrative that we are experiencing very little inflation. Has anyone taken a look at housing costs, healthcare costs, or even college tuition? The problem at the core of this salary stagnation is that productivity gains are simply not trickling down to the typical worker. The Great Recession largely smashed male employment. Males lost 3 out of 4 jobs in the Great Recession. The financial crisis impacted everyone, male and female, but there is some interesting data to be examined from the figures for full-time working males.
The mainstream press simply measures a recovery by looking at the stock market even though very little of the gains here are trickling down to regular families. It should be noted that many Americans are frustrated with the economy because to them, it still feels like a recession. Low-wages permeate the landscape, housing costs are jumping, college tuition is off the charts, and saving for retirement seems like a distant dream. Those clustered away in bubbles may feel that this is not the case but there is clear evidence highlighting how weak this recovery has turned out to be. There is a reason that we now have a boom in dollar stores across the nation. The top occupations across the country pay $10 an hour or less and carry very little in the way of benefits. Let us take a look at some charts to show what this recovery truly looks like.
The increasing odds that you will die working: The extinction of retirement and the growing old age labor force.
I was greeted by an older gentleman at a local Target store. He slowly smiled and said hello. I nodded and said hello as he proceeded to greet other shoppers. Leaving the store I was greeted by an older cashier. Over the last decade, the retail labor force is seeing a growing number of older Americans. Many don’t envision retirement as working in a low-wage job but that is simply the way of life for many. The BLS estimates that labor force participation rate for those 65 to 74 years of age is going to increase to 31.9 percent in 2022. That is an incredibly high number of older Americans eligible for Social Security still working in the labor force. This is happening as younger Americans make up a smaller portion of the labor force and as many more Americans enter into college. Yet one thing that is rarely discussed is that many older Americans are going to work until they die out of necessity. Not a few. Not a couple. A large portion of older Americans are working deep into old age because they can’t afford to retire.
Census data shows a record 46.7 million Americans live in poverty. Over 40,000 dollar stores now permeate the United States.
Census data is always released in September for the previous year. As far as comprehensive data goes the Census is one of the best measures that we have. The latest Census figures merely reflect an economy that is crushing the American Dream. It also helps to highlight why so many people have profound doubts regarding this so-called recovery. The latest Census figures show that a record number of Americans now live in poverty. The total number of Americans living in poverty is 46.7 million. We also have a large number of Americans working in low-wage jobs and being perilously close to being in poverty. This is not what people have in mind when we talk about a recovery. The problem, of course, is the financialization of the system where a massive bull run in stocks simply went to consolidated wealth into fewer hands. Big banks got bigger while household income reverted back to where it was in 1989.