A small segment of men out earn everyone else, but that’s not the dominant story of the American economy of the last 50 years: Men are falling out of the economy.
Overall: Higher rates of education, a sprawling prison population and antisocial-like behavior (despair) seem to account for at least five million missing prime-age men from the workforce.
The unemployment rate as an indicator entirely misses the crisis of labor-force participation among prime age men — because waves of men aren’t even trying to get formal work anymore. It’s ignored for many reasons, one of which may be that it doesn’t fit a progressive priorities, so it’s largely been voiced by conservatives — with a few exceptions. This is not happening in any other rich country save for Italy; This needs to be an issue of national and bipartisan interest.
That’s the main theme of Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis, a book by demographer Nicholas Eberstadt. The book was first published in 2016, though I read an updated pandemic version published in 2022 amid dramatic economic shifts.
I’ve backed into this sort of trend-reporting when I covered how tenure rates have changed over time, and I’ve come across Eberstadt’s work elsewhere. I took his new pandemic release asa reason to read his full work. It’s urgent and nuanced and interesting and important.
Below I share my notes for future reference.Continue reading Where are the 5+ million prime age men missing from the workforce?