American Men Are Giving Up On Jobs

Tyler Durden's picture


I’ve written about this before, but there are 10 million American males between the age of 24 and 64 who have literally dropped out of the workforce. It means that they have given up on finding a job or are simply not looking.

But, focusing on just one subset among those who are 24–64, we see that white working-class males’ labor force participation rate has dropped to 59%.

The Economist has created something called a Forgotten Men Index, which shows the gap between white working-class men in particular and all men in general.

I bring this data up because white working-class men have become the focus of much current political discussion. The participation numbers are similar or worse for other racial categories except for Asians.

Among the 10 million men not in the workforce—men who are not even looking for a job—57% of the Caucasian population between 21 and 55 collect disability benefits, which means they can get Medicaid benefits and cheap narcotics.

Opioid addiction has become rampant in 50-something men.

This Isn’t New

For the first time in the last 250 years of history, we are watching the probable longevity rates within a demographic segment of the population fall. That specific demographic is working men in their 50s, and the main causes of early death in this cohort are alcohol, drug abuse, and suicide.

Shrinking workforce participation is not a recent trend; I’ve written about it plenty. It has been happening since the ’60s, through every administration and every tax reform. It seems that with every major technological advance, a certain portion of the working population doesn’t find a way forward to take advantage of the next set of opportunities.

Let me pull a few random quotes from Nicholas Eberstadt’s powerful book Men Without Work. These are just a few of the almost 40 pages that I copied and made notes on from his 200-page book. I could literally write a whole letter just focusing on what I think are important quotes.


The work rate has improved since 2014, but it would be unwise to exaggerate that turnaround. As of early 2016, our adult work rate was still at its lowest level in three decades. If our nation’s work rate today were back to its start-of-the-century highs, approximately 10 million more Americans would currently have paying jobs.

Here, then, is the underlying contradiction of economic life in America’s second Gilded Age: A period of what might at best be described as indifferent economic growth has somehow produced markedly more wealth for its wealth-holders and markedly less work for its workers. This paradox may help explain a number of otherwise perplexing features of our time, such as the steep drop in popular satisfaction with the direction of the country, the increasing attraction of extremist voices in electoral politics, and why overwhelming majorities continue to tell public opinion pollsters, year after year, that our ever-richer America is still stuck in a recession….

All of these assessments draw upon data on labor market dynamics: job openings, new hires, “quit ratios,” unemployment filings and the like. And all those data are informative—as far as they go. But they miss also something, a big something: the deterioration of work rates for American men…

Between 1948 and 2015, the work rate for U.S. men twenty and older fell from 85.8 percent to 68.2 percent. Thus the proportion of American men twenty and older without paid work more than doubled, from 14 percent to almost 32 percent. Granted, the work rate for adult men in 2015 was over a percentage point higher than 2010 (its all-time low). But purportedly “near full employment” conditions notwithstanding, the work rate for the twenty-plus male was more than a fifth lower in 2015 than in 1948.

It’s Happening All Across the Board

Recent data over the last number of years have begun to show that it is not just the American male who is struggling. The participation rate of female workers is beginning to decline as well.

The trend in the workplace has not been our friend. And any reasonable analysis suggests that in the future, the rate at which jobs are being lost to new technologies is only going to double and triple.

This is one of the central problems facing society today, not just in the US but all across the developed world.

Do you think the trends will be any different in Europe, England, Japan, or China? Those countries will all have their own ways of dealing with this problem, of course, but as I’ve shared before, technology is going to put a strain on the number of jobs available to people without specific technical expertise.

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hotrod's picture

that's why I gave up.

barysenter's picture

Its not a job when your wages and promotions go to a bunch of thieves and their ungrateful, undeserving, stupid hostages. Brother, you asked for it. 

swampmanlives's picture

Billionaires know how to run a business. That is why they are billionaires and that is why people elected Trump because they want him to run the USA like a business. Don't complain about the system when you can just as easily become a billionaire like Trump, assuming you have a wealthy father who will give you all of his money so you can turn it into a few billion later on.

whatisthat's picture

What a crock of statistical goop about victims - who should be more self-reliant.

ajkreider's picture

Less whining, more working.  There are jobs out there.  

At some point, it's a matter of self-respect -  not being satisfied with other people working for your stuff.  It doesn't come from uncle sam.  It comes from your fellow citizens.


ElTerco's picture

Sorry... there are plenty of ZHers who have enough assets to last them until they are 100 years old (knock on wood), without going to the government trough for anything other than Social Security at full retirement age. Read what is being said here in the comments. Money may go to where labor is cheapest, but (talented) labor goes to where mutual respect is highest between manager/worker/colleagues.

swampmanlives's picture

If Obama's employment numbers were fake, then clearly Trump's employment numbers are fake too.

Froman's picture

Why fucking work?  If you are a qualified, white male and apply for a job you are passed over in the name of diversity for someone who is unqualified and a dumbass but meets the idiotic politically correct government quota for diversity.  If you do happen to get a job, and this is even worse, you work for some idiot that was hired based only on the fact that they were a protected class under the diversity laws so your manager is dumber than a bag full of hammers and does nothing and you end up doing twice the work so the bozo can take credit for it and make more money.  

tedstr's picture

Work sucks.  I havent worked in 7 years.  I used to love work but the last 4 years I worked the work environment was horriffic.  Incompetent bosses, un-meetable demands, smart ass politics from 20 somethings.  Fuck em.  I have a tiny pension, my wife teaches, empty nester and I daytrade an have some investment income.  We'll get by.  My college grad daughter is making about 60% of what I made in my first job in real adjusted income and working longer hours without benefits.

I noticed the first white teenager woking at the car wash last week.  Also noticed employment signs for landscapers.  Shutting down immigration is gonna change a lot real fast.  Maybe Ill go back sometime.

general ambivalent's picture

Similar to my last project. Idiot manager who decided to hire drug addicts to save a few bucks an hour, not provide industrial-quality tools, not provide enough tools so employees were hoarding them, never show up on time, make fun of employees behind their back (including suggestions that people were rampage killers), lie about raises, and create an unsafe environment.

It's already a disrespect to have to work your ass off to get by (which isn't really the fault of managers, at least directly), but when they pile shit on top of that to being constantly humiliated by managers then it becomes clear that slavery has returned.

rbianco3's picture

I went back after Trump got elected, but if the Deep State doesn't back off - I'll cut off their money supply again. The corporate work environment is just as bad or worse, the new 40 hours is 50 or 60 and there is no backup if I die or quit.

Who is John Galt? 

swampmanlives's picture

Capitalism will go to where the cheapest and most qualified labor is. If you can hire some foreigner to do it for less and is qualified to do it. Why not? People bitch when a company outsources and people lose jobs, but no one cares if some startup uses foreign workers or robots from the get go. People bitch about minimum wage so they can hire cheaper workers, but we complain when someone else is willing to work for less? You want to be capitalists but you're socialist at heart.

Seasmoke's picture

Work is a 4 Letter word.

buttmint's picture

...about 10-11 years ago, I pulled funds out of my ATM (House) and got my knees replaced in India. The whole journey was an eye opener---a view into the future. I could finally wal without bone-on-bone pain for the first time in my life.

I cut back on my USA work hours and opted to live in SE Asia for 6 months each year. I've pulled this off with style. Living in a foreign country represents a helluva learning curve. Learning an Asiatic language and all aspects of a new life. I'm glad I invested the time and drive to get up to speed.


USA life has become downright SCARY!

Duc888's picture



Well, the good thing is that for the non-dopers out there, those that can actually pass a drug test there's plenty of jobs.


Kprime's picture

you mean plenty of slave positions.  most of them structured just right; while you work we fuck u in the ass.

which is why there is "labor shortage".  you have to be on drugs to apply for those jobs but you have to be drug free to get hired.  I see no future for this country; except for basement diggers.  Tomorrows potential slaves are opting out and prefer to live in basements.  Best I can tell that is an excellent decision. 

We need a revolution and opting out of the .gov slave taxation program is a great way to start.  Most great nations in the past finally collapsed when the .gov could no longer pay the armies.  Until the nation reaches that point the corrupt murdering, thieving rulers maintained some semblance of power. 

Already we are reaching the point where most large police forces are employing  outright theft to fund their operations.  And, they are also finding there is no gold left in the treasury to retire on.  When .gov has debased the fiat as far as they can, when they can no longer sell their false promises of debt, when the treasury is empty of gold because the citizens will no longer grow grain for the king, .gov can no longer pay the soldiers. Then the nation's governments on all levels will collapse.  In the past many of these failed governors were beheaded.  One can only hope that the past repeats itself.

In truth, most nations were brought down by citizens refusing to work for the government any longer.  There is hope in this process.

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) Kprime Mar 10, 2017 5:09 PM

Nailed it! That is exactly what happened in Ancient Rome! Rather than pay taxes farmers walked away from their farms, moved to other places. When it is not profitable to farm (or work) because the profit from your labor is stolen by the government people choose to not have a profit. Not earning a taxable profit means there is nothing for the state to collect (read as steal or confiscate). That doesn't mean people sat on their asses. They still grew enough food for themselves and their family. Just not enough food to tax. They downsized, down scaled, and went Galt.

I posted this on another thread, the IRS has received 6 million fewer tax returns when compared to the same time last year. Sounds like a lot of folks are going Galt. Good!

Cya in Galt's Gulch!

land_of_the_few's picture

Yup and unless I am completely delusional (discuss) US has 200 trn liabilities (approx 10 x annual GDP) and 40 trn assets (2 x annual GDP there it starts to sound fishy somehow lol). UK probably similar ratio but smaller. This is probably the destiny of all empires past their peak, unless something else happens instead of decline.

Most likely Germany China and Russia are not in such a fix since they do not run massive trade or current account deficits. France is somewhere in between, probably not nearly as much in debt as UK.

Spain and Italy ... well who knows. Most likely their GDPs weren't big enough to generate such massive debt as the "leaders". And most other nations simply don't qualify as being in the game- minnows.

Japan could be an interesting discussion though.



CRM114's picture

Additionally, let's also remember that the Praetorians started choosing Emperors based on how much they would pay them. The modern equivalent will be Presidents, etc, bailing out Police and Military Pension funds.

lil dirtball's picture

You piss on demand because someone tells you you can't keep your 'job' if you don't and give bodily fluids (DNA samples) to a corporate lab to sniff at for whatever they want and not tell you squat about it?

And you come here and look down your nose at 'dopers'?

People choose not to work because of assholes like you in the 'workplace'.

swampmanlives's picture

Lmao Trump said Obama's employment numbers were fake, now he is parading around like the low unemployment rate is all his. They're still fake numbers.

Ms No's picture

They are eating us alive.  When men can't earn a living they become despondent because they tie their value to their income earning abilities.  It's sick what has been done to us and no matter what portion of the issue is discussed it's always our own fault.  We are lazy, we are stupid, we are unskilled, unmotivated, greedy, druggies, unappreciative, wont do the work, all the others are better slaves, etc.

No.  We are the most productive labor on the planet, we built things better than anybody and they are fucking us in the ass.  They want this country dead in the water to pave the way for the final form of globalism.      

CRM114's picture

Do not mistake the ability to thrive with earning an income.

Kprime's picture


just like they think getting rid of cash would "capture us".  haaahaaa

and ole country boy can thrive without "income" or "cash".

100 million "non working" folks gotta different idea.

Ms No's picture

What do you mean?  Look to accrue wealth rather than wage labor?  Quality of life?



CRM114's picture

As Kprime says below, Quality of Life.

Ask yourself, what are you earning that money for?

Which of your hobbies can be done cheap?

Strive for independence.

Build/refurbish your own house/boat/toys rather than working like a slave to pay the Government to do nothing good, and to pay someone else to do (badly) what you want.


Kprime's picture

Feminists and immigrants.  lmao, they are such amateurs.  They really thought it would make an impact if they held a

"a day without immigrants"

"a day without women".

Sorry bout ya, the ole whites boys are years ahead of you, try several decades without us participating in the "slave labor" workforce.  We didn't say a word, didn't have an organized protest, we just gave ya'll a kick down the road to bankruptcy and collapse.  we took the ball and went home, we ain't playin your game no moar.

even tho they included themselves in GDP, .gov and the world of finance doesn't produce anything but theft, murder and misery.  Try eating regulations and putting shoes on your feet with financial slight of hand.  That's all .gov and banking can produce and they have to murder and steal to make a paycheck.  We used to call those kinda folks criminals.

Truly, did you really think this was going to last forever?  Did you think those of us carrying the weight, working the land, producing the goods and building homes were just going to keep going forever while you stole every ounce of labor and value you could get your hands on?

Well that don't surprise me, idiots. Over the past ten years while you weren't looking, we left party.  Good luck paying bill when the sun comes up and that hangover headache sets in.  We left you an empty wallet, a maxed out credit card, and we are nowhere to be found.

C'est la vie

Ms No's picture

"Feminists and immigrants.  lmao, they are such amateurs.  They really thought it would make an impact..."

I think you're fighting phantoms there.  With over three hundred million in this country, and whatever our work force is now, nearly half are women and they all went to work.  The immigrants went to work too.  They just want you to think that you are outnumbered when you are not.  Most people agree with you.  They are creating another mirage.  Remember, nobody even went to Hillary's events.  A large portion of the protestors are paid and their numbers are nothing.  Trump landsliding the election regardless of what they say.

Kprime's picture

Unquestionably phantoms, but the demons are real.  My wife was unaware there were even any protests going on. My point being us ole white guys, and most reasoning folks, just do what needs to be done without protest; often without conversation or collusion.   By the time anyone even becomes aware of what we have done it's years too late.

the 100 million non-workers didn't get together and discuss it.  Individually, we all just came to the realization it was time to quit working for the king.  .gov thinks they need to control media and the internet to keep us from colluding against them.  Well 100 million workers figured it out individually and one by one a 100 million man march into the future began.  Nary a word was spoken and all rules were broken. 

.gov may control media and the connections of the internet, but they can't control the freedom that exists in the human mind.  revolutions begin when conditions exists so clearly that individual members of society recognize the problem without guidance.  We have reach that point in our society.

"When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, WE DON'T NEED TO ASK PERMISSION."


Ms No's picture

Well put.  I like that part about not being able to control the freedom in the human mind. 

It makes you wonder how big the black market actually is.  Big enough they want to ban cash.  Some people have managed to evade them their entire lives.

flyonmywall's picture

Why is this a surprise? This is exactly what happened with Russian men after the Soviet Union fell in the 90s. 

Everything hardworking men have built is being slowly torn down, and hard work and building stuff with your hands ia not paid and appreciated anymore.

Our society is being torn to shreds by snowflake transgenders and manipulating ivory tower elites.

Fuck it. Why participate in a rigged game? Just about every small business around me is run by a white guy in their late 40s-early 50s. These people are resourceful, hardworking, and know their stuff.

Kudos to them for not participating in the rigged game.

IntTheLight's picture

It bothers me to this day that white men built this country and are shunted aside. Nonwhite areas where blacks live are called ghettos but they were not ghettos when whites built those neighborhoods. When our great cities were built, white men built them and they were safe. Some cities have totally collapsed. Others simply have areas that sane whites avoid, like the south side of Chicago. Used to be great. Still prime real estate if a different demographic hadn't been shoved out.

Silver Bullet's picture

You mean some of the biggest suckers of taxpayer money are white, I mean white-trash, males? A group that will only grow under bottom of the basement IQ level Donnie. Since this is the foundation of ZH, this should be good for site traffic with all the extra time ZH'ers will have. Although, since none of them have any money it can't be terribly good for advertising rates.

Ms No's picture

Not working can be pulled off if one is willing to live below their means right now, buy PM and save your ass off.  If you can find stable investment income that would be awesome too.  I moving into a tiny little place on acreage that doesn't even have a stove.  It will be Raiders of the Lost Ark with all of the scorpions on the land but it will save me about 65% or better on my current cost of living.  Since my only illness is a pre-existing condition I might bail on medical insurance too.  I am tired of getting gouged for that shit and it wont cover alternative stuff, which I prefer.  So I have almost always paid out of pocket anyway.  Plus that is what Thailand is for.

I have about 800 bucks a month investment income but that wont be enought to get fanned with grape leaves in some cheap Asian place, but hopefully living on the Jew's Raiders of The Lost Ark property will help me along.  If I don't get Jewed.

CalifornianSeven's picture

"...they have given up on finding a job or are simply not looking..." 


I'd add:  or are working for cash...

SubjectivObject's picture

Dude, they're working off the books.

SubjectivObject's picture

Ha! Without even tryin', me and Cal7 see it the same way.

The Real Tony's picture

Re: For the first time in the last 250 years of history, we are watching the probable longevity rates within a demographic segment of the population fall. That specific demographic is working men in their 50s, and the main causes of early death in this cohort are alcohol, drug abuse, and suicide.

Gee, I wonder if it has anything to do with the average American being fatter than any time in history and more out of shape than any time in history?

Sledge-hammer's picture
Sledge-hammer (not verified) Mar 10, 2017 4:46 PM

All of the comments are fascinating.  I retired recently.  I am not working right now, because I collect a pension and small investments.  I'm not wealthy by any means.  There will be no country club, jet-set lifestyle for sure.  I am contented though with what I have and am thankful for it.  Lifestyles of the rich and famous seemed very fetching and desirable when watching it on TV, but the reality is that you must have an enormous constant income stream to pay for it, maintain it, secure it, insure it, and protect it from all of the vagaries that might come your way.  All the more power to those who have it and can maintain it.  I am happy to have a couple of meals a day and a roof over my head.  Peace and quiet and peace of mind are worth more than a pile of gold.  

gregga777's picture

The Real Brainard Bloodbath Beckons
by David Stockman • September 14, 2016

"There are 210 million American of working age between 18 and 68, implying about 420 billion potential labor hours per year. That’s based on the idea that every adult is potentially capable of contributing 2000 hours per year to society’s need for work and production. However, according to the bean-counters at the BLS, only 240 billion labor hours were actually supplied to the US economy in the most recent year."

"In fact, the resulting total of 180 billion hours of unmonetized potential labor implies the actual “unemployment rate” is 43%. So, yes, we do have some slack!"

John Williams' Shadow Government Statistics says unemployment, as calculated as it was before the Feral government defined away the problem, is ~23%.

The Feral government's Bozos of LYING Statistics says unemployment is less than 5%.

Whom do you believe? The LYING scumbags at Goldman Sachs' Feral Reserve System? The LYING Feral government? The Feral government's LYING organs of state propaganda (mainstream media & entertainment oligopoly)? The Intellectual Yet Idiot classes ruling morons who enormously enriched themselves by sending 100,000+ factories and 20,000,000+ jobs to their Communist bosom buddies in the People's Republic of China?

AKKadian's picture

They have seceded from the Filthy Corrupt system can you blame them.!!!

unsafe-space-time's picture

Fuck your jobs. I want to be a blacksmith/crusader/hunter/gatherer/fisher. Bring those jobs back.

Barrock's picture

Why be a slave to the welfare state if you don't have to be?  I have no income, so I don't pay federal, state income tax, or OASDI taxes.  I still pay property tax and sales tax when I have to.  Fuck the welfare state!

ElTerco's picture

So you're retired? Everyone will eventually be in this club, so if they down-vote, they are hypocrites.

oldguyonBMXbike's picture

Fuck your jobs, I'm going to travel the country slaying pedophiles and stealing their wealth.

ElTerco's picture

Oh... like 50 year-old jackoffs with 30 year-old girlfriends? Or were you thinking more of the 60 year-old jackoffs with 30 year-old girlfriends?

EX-floor hedger's picture

git a mitt & git in the game - it's called BLANTANT AGE DISCRIMINATION...

moonmac's picture

Natural Born Losers can't handle opioids without becoming junkies so let's ban them for all pain patients.

Little Johnny with the Dirty Hippie parents can't stop misbehaving so nobody gets to go to recess.

kekekekekekeke's picture

why get a job when you can live in your parents basement and play videogames all day 

HRH Feant's picture
HRH Feant (not verified) kekekekekekeke Mar 10, 2017 5:57 PM

Your ignorance is showing. Playing video games can be profitable.

How? Lots of players create web pages (and are paid via advertisements for the game and related items) to help other players. Some players monetize their gaming on Utube and develop a following of loyal fans. Other players have monetized their gaming on Twitch.TV and live stream their gaming (including live chat and live audio while they are playing) and monetize their Twitch.TV account. There are players that are easily making a million dollars, a year, and have very cool setups in houses that live stream the players while they are gaming and some also include their personal life as well.

Developers that create video games usually grew up playing them and want to combine their gaming interest with the computer realm and this is how new games are developed. Apparently you didn't know the gaming industry is a multi-billion dollar business that creates and sells a product that people want and are willing to buy.

Games can create sub-industries where people mine for in-game coin and sell it to others for real cash. The convention industry has made a lot of money from gaming! Comicon the penny arcade expo, now known as PAX, holds events all over the world in large cities. Those gamers stay in hotels, eat at local restaurants, and buy souvenirs at such events.

Lastly, many gamers learn to build and modify PCs and end up starting their own business doing that for other people.

The options for creating interesting work from a gaming hobby are endless.