Way too many are not working.
One of the most troubling long-term trends over the past several decades has been the disappearance of working-age men from the workforce. The chart below shows the downward trend that only accelerated during and after COVID.
Women since the end of World War 2 have nearly doubled their workforce participation. One factor has been that men’s wages have grown much less over the past 50 years than women’s wages. The reward for working has risen for women and fallen for men. We will let readers make of that fact what they wish.
But even the labor force participation rate of women has fallen since COVID. Why?
We attribute at least half of the male labor force decline of late to generous welfare benefits that can nearly replace as much – and in some cases, more – than the loss of wage income from working.
Are men becoming like the lazy male lions who lie around all day and let the lionesses hunt for food?
We think that the decline in the number of men of working age who are not in the labor force is bad for the economy (obviously), but also harmful to their own health and happiness, to family stability. Men not working contributes to other social-culture problems from divorce to crime to drug and alcohol and spousal abuse.
We have to make work pay and eliminate the financial rewards for not working and it should the highest priority of the next Congress.