More Than 101 Million Working Age Americans Do Not Have A Job

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog,

The jobs recovery is a complete and total myth.  The percentage of the working age population in the United States that had a job in March 2013 was exactly the same as it was all the way back in March 2010.  In addition, as you will see below, there are now more than 101 million working age Americans that do not have a job.  But even though the employment level in the United States has consistently remained very low over the past three years, the Obama administration keeps telling us that unemployment is actually going down. 

In fact, they tell us that the unemployment rate has declined from a peak of 10.0% all the way down to 7.6%.  And they tell us that in March the unemployment rate fell by 0.1% even though only 88,000 jobs were added to the U.S. economy.  But it takes at least 125,000 new jobs a month just to keep up with population growth.  So how in the world are they coming up with these numbers?  Well, the reality is that the entire decline in the unemployment rate over the past three years can be accounted for by the reduction in size of the labor force. 

In other words, the Obama administration is getting unemployment to go down by pretending that millions upon millions of unemployed Americans simply do not want jobs anymore.  We saw this once again in March.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 600,000 Americans dropped out of the labor market during that month alone.  That pushed the labor force participation rate down  to 63.3%, which is the lowest it has been in more than 30 years.  So please don't believe the hype.  The sad truth is that there has been no jobs recovery whatsoever.

If things were getting better, there would not be more than 101 million working age Americans without a job.

So exactly where does that statistic come from?  Well, the following explains where I got that number...

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are 11,742,000 working age Americans that are officially unemployed.

In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that there are 89,967,000 working age Americans that are "not in the labor force".  That is a new all-time record, and that number increased by a whopping 663,000 during the month of March alone.

When you add 11,742,000 working age Americans that are officially unemployed to the 89,967,000 working age Americans that are "not in the labor force", you come up with a grand total of 101,709,000 working age Americans that do not have a job.

When you stop and think about it, that is an absolutely staggering statistic.

And anyone that tells you that "a higher percentage of Americans are working today" is telling you a complete and total lie.  During the last recession the percentage of working age Americans with a job fell dramatically, and since then we have not seen that number bounce back at all.  In fact, this is the very first time in the post-World War II era that we have not seen the employment-population ratio bounce back after a recession.  At this point, the employment-population ratio has been under 60 percent for 49 months in a row...

Employment-Population Ratio 2013

Since the end of 2009, the employment-population ratio has been remarkably steady.  Just check out these numbers...

March 2008: 62.7 percent

March 2009: 59.9 percent

March 2010: 58.5 percent

March 2011: 58.4 percent

March 2012: 58.5 percent

March 2013: 58.5 percent

We should be thankful that the percentage of working age Americans with a job did not continue to decline, but we should also be quite alarmed that it has not bounced back at all.

If there was going to be a recovery, there would have been one by now.  The next major economic downturn is rapidly approaching, and that is going to push the employment-population ratio down even farther.

So why is the U.S. economy not producing as many jobs as it used to?  Well, certainly the overall decline of the economy has a lot to do with it.  We are a nation that is drowning in debt and that is getting poorer by the day.

But since the end of the last recession, corporate profits have bounced back in a big way and are now at an all-time high.  So you would figure that the big corporations should be able to hire a lot more workers by now.

Unfortunately, that is not the way things work anymore.  Big corporations are trying to minimize the number of expensive American workers that they have on their payrolls as much as possible these days.

One way that they are doing this is through the use of technology.  Thanks to robots, computers and other forms of technology, big corporations simply do not need as many human workers as they used to.  In future years, this trend is only going to accelerate.  I wrote about how this is changing the world of employment in one of my previous articles entitled "Rise Of The Droids: Will Robots Eventually Steal All Of Our Jobs?"

Another way that big corporations are replacing expensive American workers is by shipping their jobs off to the other side of the globe.  Big corporations know that they can make bigger profits by making stuff in foreign countries where they can pay workers less than a dollar an hour with no benefits.  How in the world are American workers supposed to compete with that?

For much more on how U.S. jobs are being killed by offshoring, please see this article: "55 Reasons Why You Should Buy Products That Are Made In America".

And of course immigration is having a dramatic impact on the labor market in some areas of the country as well.  Cheap labor has dramatically driven down wages in a lot of professions.  For example, once upon a time you could live a very nice middle class lifestyle as a roofer.  But now many roofers really struggle to make a living.

When you add everything up, it paints a very bleak picture for the future of the American worker.

The cost of living keeps rising much faster than wages do, and the competition for good jobs has become incredibly fierce.

Meanwhile, the government continues to make things even easier for those that are not working.  This has caused some Americans to give up completely and to be content with letting the government take care of them.  The following is from a recent article by Monty Pelerin...

As we make it easier to get unemployment benefits for longer time periods, more people take advantage of the system. So too with food stamps and disability. All programs are at or near record levels in what is supposed to be four years into an economic recovery. For many, the benefits of becoming a government dependent exceed what they can earn. One study reported that a family of four, collecting all the benefits for which they were entitled, would have to earn $65,000 per annum to have the same after-tax purchasing power.

 

If you are a product of the government schools and are legal to work (i.e., have skills enough that you are affordable at the minimum wage or higher), at what point do you realize that there is no need to go through the hassle of actual work. You can live pretty well by staying home and taking advantage of the entitlements available to you. That is exactly what a larger and larger percentage of the population are realizing. In many cases, it is economically irrational to work.

 

This behavior creates a social pathology that only worsens over time. Kids learn from their parents that work is not necessary and the many ways to game the system. In this regard, look for this problem to become worse over time unless these programs are cut back.

In some areas of the country, it actually pays not to work very hard.  According to Gary Alexander, the Secretary of Public Welfare for the state of Pennsylvania, a "single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045."

But the truth is that most Americans still want to work hard and would gladly take a good job if they could just find one.  The following is one example that was featured in a recent Fox News article...

After a full year of fruitless job hunting, Natasha Baebler just gave up.

 

She'd already abandoned hope of getting work in her field, working with the disabled. But she couldn't land anything else, either — not even a job interview at a telephone call center.

 

Until she feels confident enough to send out resumes again, she'll get by on food stamps and disability checks from Social Security and live with her parents in St. Louis.

 

"I'm not proud of it," says Baebler, who is in her mid-30s and is blind. "The only way I'm able to sustain any semblance of self-preservation is to rely on government programs that I have no desire to be on."

And that is how most Americans feel.

Most Americans do not want to be dependent on the government.

Most Americans want to work hard and take care of themselves.

Unfortunately, our economy is not producing nearly enough jobs for everyone and it never will again.

So there will continue to be millions upon millions of Americans that find that they cannot take care of themselves and their families without government assistance no matter how hard they try.

And this is just the beginning - things are going to get much worse during the next major wave of the economic collapse.

Yes, at the moment there are more than 101 million working age Americans that do not have a job, but that number is actually going to go much higher in the years ahead.  The anger and frustration caused by a lack of employment opportunities is going to shake this nation.

That is why it is important to try to become less dependent on your own job.  In this economic environment, a job can disappear at literally any moment.  Anything that you can do to become less dependent on the system would be a good thing.

Homeless Bill Needs Rich Woman Photo By Josh Swieringa

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Big Slick's picture

Blah blah blah... (with funny comment)

Shocker's picture

Its pretty sad to see. But this doesn't surpise anyone if you been paying attention.

Jobs have been going away at a rapid rate for 3-5 years nows

Layoff/Closing List

http://www.dailyjobcuts.com

McMolotov's picture

What's all the worry about? Who cares if the percentage of people working is low? We're just returning to that golden age when Mom stayed at home with the kids and Dad had a job that paid great.

What's that? Mom works part-time as a stripper, and Dad works at Starbucks now because Grandpa can't afford to retire so he took Dad's old job for less money? Well fuck me.

The Juggernaut's picture

See... Krugman is right we need to hose this American wasteland with shit tons of cash.

Pladizow's picture

Hey, be happy there's not 102 million!

The Juggernaut's picture

And have the Federal Reserve pay for taxes as well!  Fuck it!

Pure Evil's picture

First they bitch that there's not enough jobs to go around due to productivity gains through computers and robotics, outsourcing, and large scale immigration..........

then they bitch because people are going on the dole cause they either can't find a job or you can make more sitting on your ass.

You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't.

Either way we're all going to hell in Obama's handbasket.

MillionDollarBonus_'s picture

What this biased article fails to mention is that millions of Americans now have access to FREE healthcare. This is a huge weight of the backs of every day Americans who previously spent a large portion of their income on healthcare.

The Juggernaut's picture

Dude.  Its not free.  Where do you think the money is coming from?

AssFire's picture

This is a huge weight ON the backs of every day Americans who previously spent a large portion of their income paying for others to visit emengency rooms.

Responsible Americans that at peril to their own family- must now pay for strangers' care as though they were their own family.

James_Cole's picture

"There are two Americas. One America is beautiful for situation. In this America, millions of people have the milk of prosperity and the honey of equality flowing before them….

 

But there is another America. This other America has a daily ugliness about it that transforms the buoyancy of hope into the fatigue of despair. In this other America, thousands and thousands of people, men in particular walk the streets in search for jobs that do not exist.

 

In this other America, thousands of young people are deprived of an opportunity to get an adequate education. Every year thousands finish high school reading at a seventh, eighth and sometimes ninth grade level. Not because they're dumb, not because they don't have the native intelligence, but because the schools are so inadequate, so over-crowded, so devoid of quality, so segregated if you will, that the best in these minds can never come out."

 

-MLK, 1968

AssFire's picture

In this other America- these same men "searching for jobs" spawned illegitimate children that spurned the education system; yet they continue to play victim-

totally unappreciative of the dollars and hours devoted in an effort to bring them out of the ghetto culture they subscribe to above all else.

eatthebanksters's picture

Obummer ain't worried, he knows the safety net of social programs that got him to the White House, where he can play unlimited rounds of free golf, will do the same for every American.  Just like his neighborhood organizing days, he knows that when things go bad he just has turn on the taxpayer spigot and all will be fine. Besides, his buddy, Helicopter Benny will print him as much as he needs!

Harlequin001's picture

The obvious solution to '101 million working age Americans that do not have a job' is war, isn't it?

Before they riot for lack of government supplied and paid for food.

Which is what comes next when the bond markets go 'poof' in a stunningly surprising and not in the least expected move...

James_Cole's picture

In this other America- these same men "searching for jobs" spawned illegitimate children that spurned the education system; yet they continue to play victim-

 

I'm sure your non-sense point strikes a chord for Americans with zero knowledge of history, but I wasn't trying to bring up that argument.

Merely pointing out that the class distinctions MLK brought up when addressing black audiences in the 60s can be restated word for word to white audiences in 2013 with equal relevancy. 

 

AssFire's picture

Yet, with all the money spent they are worse off by every measure.

They cling to their class distinction- it gives them privileges.

We gave treats to them to encourage this behavior- very sick.

Mototard at Large's picture

MDB:  I love you like a step brother!

toady's picture

Yeah, the whole redheaded step child partially retarded milkmans son thing?

Dre4dwolf's picture

We are spending more on healthcare now, a fucking dentist trip costs 1800$ in New York if you have even the most minor issue... and thats WITH a dental "discount" plan from an insuerer.

 

Insurance is a JOKE.

CunnyFunt's picture

If you flew to Mexico, paid for dental work, then flew back, you'd still be ahead. Good, no-bullshit service is included.

Imminent Crucible's picture

MillionDollarDoofus: millions of Americans now have access to FREE healthcare.

Govt employees and the union slugs already had free healthcare, simpleton. The rest of us just have a mandate to buy our own overpriced medical insurance or pay a big fine. You're not naturally stupid. What you got takes practice.

toady's picture

I used to do, but now I don't.

I do keep saying you're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't though.

ratso's picture

Half the country is working off the books and not paying taxes - DO THEY COUNT?

archon's picture

Not so fast, there...  if you add to it all the people who have government jobs, you have about 130 million people who aren't working.

Dr Paul Krugman's picture

And so the proper recourse is to cut spending?  Cut food stamps?

It is true, we are in a depression, and that means we need to support the unemployed, not harm their chances for employment by cutting what programs are helping them.

The Juggernaut's picture

Shut up, dude.  You're a megalomaniac.  The best is when people have freedom over their money and can use the best natural talents they have not centralized planning to stifle growth and endorse child-like dependence.

McMolotov's picture

Obviously we should continue to tax small businesses into the ground so we can pay for food stamps and unemployment. That way, we can incentivize people to remain on the dole while simultaneously killing any chance that businesses will be able to afford to hire more employees.

Everything evens out. Right?

Dr Paul Krugman's picture

Ah, yes, the "who wouldn't want to live on food stamps" arguement.

Have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, people don't want to live on food stamps?  Have you considered that people want the opportunity to make more money than they do?  Or do you adhere to the notion that single mothers are welfare queens and unemployed men are lazy?

God help a rich man when he loses his job, right?

The Juggernaut's picture

No.  Your retarded policies help the rich man keep their jobs.  Banks never fail while the People of Rome burn.

 

Back then it was barbarians and now its bankers.

Dr Paul Krugman's picture

8 years of Bush messed up the economy, and now we are trying to fix things.

The Juggernaut's picture

The Military Industrial Complex was in effect well before Bush and is going strong with Obama.  You made such a lame comment.

jayman21's picture

8 Years of Bush?  How about 100 years of The Fed.  No kiss.

css1971's picture

The exponential curve of debt growth is almost perfect and almost identical whether it's a democratic or republican president or congress. It is almost completely irrelevant which set are in charge.

8%/year growth rate for atleast the last 40 years. Same for republicans or democrats. Or it was till 2008 and we ran out of debtors to enslave.

MiltonFriedmansNightmare's picture

8 years of Bush or 100 yrs of Rothschild et al. ?

akak's picture

And remind me again, you sociopathic apologist for everything corrupt and criminal, how the policies of puppet Obama are in ANY meaningful way different from those of puppet Bush?

Imminent Crucible's picture

That stingy Bush didn't hand out free cell phones to crack ho's.

And Obama has upped the attacks on Pakistani wedding parties by 500%. Now THAT's progress.

http://livingunderdrones.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Stanford_NYU_LIV...

A Nanny Moose's picture

....by giving the government more money so that wealthy parasites can benefit even further? Behind every government program is a corporation reaping the benefits. I bet Visa just hates all the fees from EBT cards.

Kirk2NCC1701's picture

Dr. K: "8 years of Bush messed up the economy, and now we are trying to fix things."

By "fix", do you mean that "We re-allocate the ownership of their 401k and IRA accounts, when they sell/ bleed out to other buyers (thus keeping the assets in play but creating more fiat FRN's)"?  Which helps the VOM.  And "then we create even more fiat FRN's when we give them welfare?" 

And exactly how do the Fed and the banks risk a "loss" in this game of Fed Charity?  You 'fixed' it alright:  you 'fixed' The Game.

tickhound's picture

While all you pathetic little parrots debate the Krugman wannabe... patting yourselves on the back and shit....

Where's all the douches calling BULLSHIT on this like you did YESTERDAY?  Fedakinx or whatever and the Harbinger dumbass?

"One way that they are doing this is through the use of technology.  Thanks to robots, computers and other forms of technology, big corporations simply do not need as many human workers as they used to.  In future years, this trend is only going to accelerate.  I wrote about how this is changing the world of employment in one of my previous articles entitled "Rise Of The Droids: Will Robots Eventually Steal All Of Our Jobs?"

*CRICKETS*

We should WANT this.  And you dildos DON'T.  Because it doesn't fit your WAGE SLAVE MENTALITY.

 

McMolotov's picture

When I see people in front of me at the check-out whipping out the EBT card to buy way more food than I am, wearing $150 shoes and towing five kids behind them, I kind of get the impression they're perfectly happy to live on food stamps.

Dr Paul Krugman's picture

Ah, yes, the "welfare queens are rich" theory.  Because that makes sense!

Chump's picture

You don't believe it because your privileged, lily white ass would never step foot in a place where people actually buy things with an EBT card.  It's similar to how you don't care how many seniors on a fixed income starve thanks to ZIRP, because you don't actually know any seniors on a fixed income.

Dr Paul Krugman's picture

Let's say Bush had privatized the SSTF before 2008 - where would we be now?  So in context having low rates vs a worsening depression - which is worse?

And defaulting on debt; do you really want to see a depression?  Or cutting the food stamp program.  Should we let people starve?

The Juggernaut's picture

It was horrible monetary policies, in which you support, that put people into poverty.

Panafrican Funktron Robot's picture

"Let's say Bush had privatized the SSTF before 2008 - where would we be now?"

Solvent.

"So in context having low rates vs a worsening depression - which is worse?"

It's not an either/or, low rates are worsening the ongoing depression.

"And defaulting on debt; do you really want to see a depression?"

I would suggest that the Swedes/Scandanavians in general, who gave you your Nobel Prize, are a good model if we continue with non-gold backed fiat currency. 

"Or cutting the food stamp program.  Should we let people starve?"

1.  People are starving in spite of EBT cards.

2.  Churches/nonprofits do a tremendous job of filling this gap.  Second Harvest is a good example.

3.  EBT cards are very often traded for liquor, cigarettes, and drugs on the black market, normally at a 2:1 ratio ($100 EBT card gets you $50 in cash or drug equivalents).  

Vashta Nerada's picture

If Bush had privatized SSTF in 2008 and bought SPDRs, we would be in the green right now.