Millions Of Working-Age Men Will Never Return To The Labor Market, Fed Says

Given that the trend has only accelerated in recent years, we've report time and time again (and again) on the declining participation rate of healthy, working-aged men (typically defined as those aged 25 to 54).

The labor force participation rate for prime-age men (age 25 to 54) has declined dramatically in the US since the 1960s. But in recent years, the declines have intensified. In 1996, 4.6 million prime-age men did not participate in the labor force. By 2016, this number had risen to 7.1 million.

As the paper's author wrote in the excerpt: "Better understanding these men and the personal situations preventing them from working may be crucial in evaluating whether they are likely to return to the labor force."

And in a perhaps more shocking finding, it's likely that many of these men will never return to the workforce due to a phenomenon called "job polarization"...

In addition, I argue that “job polarization,” a phenomenon that describes declining demand for middle-skill workers in response to advancements in technology and globalization, has been a key contributor to the increase in nonparticipation among prime-age men. I show that if job polarization had not changed the composition of jobs in the labor market in the past two decades, 1.9 million more men would likely be employed in 2016, representing a 3.6 percent increase in overall employment of prime-age men. However, the effects of job polarization are unlikely to unwind any time soon—survey evidence suggests nonparticipating prime-age men are unlikely to return to the labor force if current conditions hold.

But by taking a closer look at this trend, the researchers at the Kansas City Fed discovered that the numbers more or less line up with a trend that politicians have been lamenting for decades: The hollowing out of the American middle class. Indeed, the study discovered that, over the past two decades, unemployment gains were highest for men in the middle education group - those with a high school degree or some college.

...While the nonparticipation rates rose for all education groups over the past two decades...



...the largest increase was for those in the middle-education groups, who had only a high school degree, some college, or an associate’s degree...



Indeed, that trend can also be seen in comparisons between the education levels of participating and nonparticipating men...



...Meanwhile, within the prime working age group, older men tended to see the highest rates of participation, presumably as disruption has left many men stranded mid- or late-career without any usable skills to help them attain a position comparable to their old job...


Here's a more complete breakdown by education group below:


Read the report in its entirety:

1q18tuzemen by Anonymous JJ6eerL on Scribd



BlackChicken Sat, 02/24/2018 - 17:46 Permalink

Only if the FED has its way.  

Why is there a section of our society that longs for others to fail while claiming to be inclusive and progressive?

I'm starting to gag on the hypocrisy today alone.

Our current President is far from perfect, but has done more for us in jobs and income than the anti-American he replaced.

Conscious Reviver Stuck on Zero Sat, 02/24/2018 - 19:14 Permalink

You can count me out. I left at the top of my game not long after 9/11 because I refused to support these murderous monsters any longer by paying taxes.

No regrets. I met a lovely, smart, capable, hard working woman that felt the same way I do. We set ourselves up as a self-sufficient farmer in paradise. 

Every day is a joy. Being a free man is a joy.

Adios to the slave factory that is Amerika.

In reply to by Stuck on Zero

Theosebes Goodfellow lloll Sat, 02/24/2018 - 22:41 Permalink

You know, that's the problem with guys, (and gals), who were around back in the late 70s and early 80s. We remember seeing high inflation. We remember how ugly all that "good times" were.

These people are the "fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice... not a chance" crowd. And so they have opted out. They don't play "corporate/industrial" any more.

So when the opportunity comes to get out, we do. It's not that most of us cannot compete in the current job market, it's just that we've decided to play a different game, by our rules, and with our own ball. Fuck you if you don't like it.

In reply to by lloll

sabaj49 Theosebes Goodfellow Sun, 02/25/2018 - 10:29 Permalink

corporate discrimination also is in works

with minority HR depts purposely lay off TALENTED engineers(highly educated)

try getting $70,000 salary when you apply for idiot jobs of new milenial

so many in their 40's and 50's never are able to recover the higher LIVING WAGE salaries they used to get


of course coming pension crisis will take all down except 1%

In reply to by Theosebes Goodfellow

D503 lloll Sat, 02/24/2018 - 23:26 Permalink

Let's run down the list:

Obsolescence before you complete your degree requires constant reeducation and certification (time/money).

The only jobs are in making other people obsolete. Making redundant contributions does not pay.

H1b's cannot negotiate for their wage, and you are competing with them, therefore you cannot negotiate for your wage.

Boomers refuse to retire and relent the earner/control positions.

Facebook, Google, and Amazon are stealing and patenting everything anyone puts up, or searches for, on the web. 

Most people who are breaking into any major field are paying randos to continue to take a course a semester in order to never pay their student loans. This makes the student debt situation untenable.

Upper and middle management opportunities are being decimated by innovations that automate positions that previously needed oversight. 

Competition for every other position increases as each field shutters due to said "innovation." 

Classical capitalistic "free markets" do not exist when even "big box" stores cannot compete with "online" giants that maintain "first mover" or "brand win" government subsidies or cognitive fallacies that depend on mnemonic associations.

Barrier to entry into any skilled labor self employment is minimally licensing, insurance, and competitive rates against in-place contractors and/or unions armed with credit, equipment requiring thousands of dollars of investment, and experience.

Americans refuse to pay for quality labor and products that last a lifetime. Instead opting for Ikea furniture and gimmick products that require constant upkeep such as video games and cellphone contracts.

Feminism has ruined women, making a good companion (let alone wife) incredibly hard to find, and harder still to satisfy as demand for such an individual increases.

Porn is instantaneously available reducing any urge to deal with these cunts.

Half of us have watched our fathers divorce, lose everything, and live in an apartment anyway. What's the motivation again?

The debt continues to grow and invariably cannot be controlled unless boomers forego their impossible to maintain benefits, benefits millennials won't get. Third rail for a reason.

Whether you're making twenty grand, or sixty grand, the investment cost maintains that you're making twenty grand. Suits, dry cleaning, business lunches, auto leases, constant driving, constant after hours business texting, taxes, etc, etc result in a null set.

Climate change is real, the effects are easily observed and even the science community is pretending it is far off and "fixable."

Video games have been tailored to satisfy the instinctual triggers that create serotonin dumps. Males aren't attacked for success at others' expense for dominating this battleground, unlike every other arena.

We know the oil is running out. No one is going into petroleum engineering because there is no future in it. 

"Renewables" are bullshit.

"Electric cars" are bullshit. 

You're never going to pay off your mortgage unless you live like a Mexican and rent out the whole house while living in the basement. Might as well just rent and not have to replace the water heater, the septic tank, paint, clean gutters, etc.

9/11 is such an obvious lie and the boomers just sat there while we started this never ending war to prop up the Keynesian illusion.

Cracking down on DWI laws has made many illegible for many jobs. One beer (especially a pint of 8% IPA) can cost you your license, a few thousand dollars, and many layman jobs. Four of my friends have DWIs they got in their early twenties/late teens and have been screwed ever since.

Anyone who can manage basic PEMDAS can work out the math that they cannot afford a house, children, college for their children, their student loans, a savings percentage of their income to afford a down payment on a home, or the time off from working to pay rent merely to afford to leave home to go camping for free in the woods. 

Anyone who can manage the differential equations and calculus can understand the impossibility of infinite growth on a finite plane, Jevon's paradox, and the inevitability of large scale war in their lifetime to service their parents' debt. 

A growing portion of the citizenry is demonstrably dependent and enjoying a quality of life disparate to their contribution. Any effort by the individual labouring supports them to a greater degree, and harms the individual contributing, why bother?

We work off the books, pay everything in cash, and drive pre emissions beaters while stockpiling guns, ammo, food, and gold. 

Why have we gone Galt? Come on, are you really this stupid or did you think we weren't as smart as you?

In reply to by lloll

D503 DeaconPews Sun, 02/25/2018 - 12:24 Permalink

"That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence."

If you're going to employ argumentum abusi fallacia, you might want to be a bit more specific in stating your case. 

Coming here and basically calling me a liar with no specificity, or evidence to the contrary, is no different than liberals calling Trump "literally Hitler."

You're entitled to your own opinion, but not the facts. Show me on the doll where the straw man touched you:

PS: If I were you, I'd have accused me of a Gish Gallup instead. I could have made that accusation stick a bit harder.

In reply to by DeaconPews

DipshitMiddleC… D503 Sun, 02/25/2018 - 11:54 Permalink

This post needs to be made into an article on zerohedge.


If you're a single dude with no debt and rent a room from soneone for under $500 a month and make 6 figures you MIGHT be able to squirrel away enough money to buy a house after 5-10 years of saving. 


But your overall premise is right: it's not worth it unless you're part of the corporate/banking cartel and can afford the (((accountants))) and (((lawyers))) to dodge taxes 

In reply to by D503

Retired Guy Juggernaut x2 Sat, 02/24/2018 - 18:36 Permalink

I see a large tweeker community here. The laws against drug users often take away the driver's license. These people can't work because employers drug test and one must drive to work. When I try to hire they don't show up on the appointed time and/or day. These people don't work because their lives are chaos.

My father once said 'in the 1930's we didn't have a drug problem. Nobody could afford it.' Today free government food, disability and child tax credits fund these people. They are enabled by the government.

It is much harder to be self employed now largely due to regulations, lawyers and monopolies. The government holds the unemployed down.


In reply to by Juggernaut x2

RAT005 Retired Guy Sat, 02/24/2018 - 18:55 Permalink

+100 everything you said + Modern mindset that each person should have final group vote.  Democracy in everything so don't let the boss bother you, just do what you prefer.  Forget wasting time doing something difficult with changing results, just hook your cart on some movement and declare yourself a conscientious hero.  Then add the dopamine gadget addiction.  For me, the biggest tell is listen to spoken communication.  It's a hesitate, uncommitted, search for validation, talking in circles until the audience gives approval and then the speaker tries to wrap up the point in the direction of validation. Never ending echo chamber that then validates their sense of democracy that the group agrees with such and such..... Well, I'm sure we've all been there, makes me nauseous.

In reply to by Retired Guy

HRClinton BlackChicken Sat, 02/24/2018 - 18:46 Permalink

Re "In 1996, 4.6 million prime-age men did not participate in the labor force. By 2016, this number had risen to 7.1 million"

That difference of 2.5 million men can easily be attributed to a corresponding rise in H1B visas, that have taken those American jobs.  - - - >

Labor arbitrage and a race to the bottom. For the sake of moar profits for the execs and money class.

In reply to by BlackChicken

sgt_doom HRClinton Sat, 02/24/2018 - 19:01 Permalink

Thanks HRClinton and exactomundo!

When Charlie Rangel sneakily inserted verbiage in the Singapore Accords allowing for a tripling of foreign visa workers, with the paperwork going through Singapore, these numbers weren't tracked, just the official numbers, therefore the actual tracking of foreign visa workers, especially those from India, is highly unreliable.

In reply to by HRClinton

A Sentinel sgt_doom Sat, 02/24/2018 - 21:10 Permalink

I didn’t know that but about Rangel. My natural field is quantitative and US citizens are simply no longer employed in vast sectors employing quantitative work. USAA for example- out of 100ish quantitative analysts doing one of their models, ONE guy isn’t Chinese. He’s French. That’s about 100 decent, middle class jobs that Americans didn’t get (and USAA, in Texas, is SUCH a patriotic company— their’s is barfworthy hypocrisy.)


In reply to by sgt_doom

sgt_doom BlackChicken Sat, 02/24/2018 - 18:56 Permalink

I agree with your first three sentences and I have read this report and it's the same old bullcrap.

When running the numbers for Japanese and South Korean and British adult workers, one comes up with the same numbers per capita - - just laying off middle-aged people and slowing down hiring of younger people while offshoring more jobs and insourcing more foreign visa replacement workers.

Nothing new here . . .

In reply to by BlackChicken

ElTerco Sat, 02/24/2018 - 17:55 Permalink

The best chart from the report was omitted in the article above. 80%+ of the drop outs don't want to ever go back to work, no matter what work is offered. That would imply that the mix of job offerings has nothing to do with the non-participation rate.

I'm guessing the increasing non-participation has more to do with American business self-destructing from internal processes, including incompetent over-compensated management who really don't understand most of the elements of the business they are managing, much less public sentiment concerning the products they sell.

There was a time when people would "work their way up" through a company, learning about every aspect of the business on the way up. Now, most businesses are run by "financial engineers" who have never worked on the shop floor, and have had limited time working at the company, people who are probably over-educated and have no concept of the real world that most of the citizens of the United States live in, aka fly-over America.

pitz ElTerco Sat, 02/24/2018 - 18:25 Permalink

Most people who are unemployed want jobs.  But the jobs don't exist.  You can't expect someone who trained for a STEM job (which have mostly been given to the foreigners) to 'magically' go work in fast food or in a nursing home wiping bums.  You shouldn't expect displaced coal miners to take up bartending or cleaning hotel rooms.   Its actually the financial "engineers" that are in a giant surplus, yet their compensation doesn't seem to reflect their relative abundance in the labour market.  

In reply to by ElTerco