Unemployment claims moved to 332,000 from the pandemic low of 312,000. 33 % of working-age American men are not doing jobs, as they do not even have a job, and are just not looking for one. That is about 30 million people! How do they live? Where do they get money? This is the great mystery today. This surprising statistic of labor participation rate, is the number of working-age men (usually counted from ages 16 to 64) neither working nor looking for work, as a percentage of the overall labor force. The pandemic made working more difficult and dangerous, besides pushing labor participation rates down to record lows. But facts about millions of American men not working, precedes COVID-19 by decades!
What do the Stats Say?
The labor participation rate for males peaked at 87.4% in October 1949 and has dropped steadily since then, to 67.7%. Sociologists, politicians, business journalists, economists, and cable news pundits spout pet theories to explain this non-work explosion. Factories closing, layoffs, automation, outsourcing jobs overseas, women entering the workforce, (participation rate by women over the same time period is very high). Without holding a “real” job, reporting income to the IRS, pay taxes and Social Security, etc. They range from the mentally ill homeless males who really need help, to the retired early and former Silicon Valley coder. Many men are stay-at-home dads while spouses work and some are unemployed but not seeking work right now, waiting for COVID to end, and resume job-search soon. How men can live in USA without working!
How do they do it?
This is how! Early retirement, Unemployment insurance, pensions, disability and lawsuits, Savings, bitcoin trading and trading stocks, Working for cash, or ‘the under-the-table’ economy, Living off of the income of other family members, Illegal work: such as narcotics-dealing (a $100 billion industry in the USA today), Living off the land and Serving Time in Prison.
Some 2 million people are jailed right now. (highest per capita on the planet, with 25% of the world’s total prisoners). Imprisonment is a way of living in America without working. Thousands of criminals all out on the street and not participating in the labor force! Some men do not play fair, getting paid under the table, fudge insurance claims or social programs. Imagine a hypothetical guy who lives with his grandmother rent -free in a rural area, possibly helping with the garden and household repairs, does some cash carpentry work, hunts game, gets food from his ex-wife’s WIC and helps his brother sell weed. Can he survive? Some men probably do.
Is it the new American way? That goes to explain the labor participation rate falling over the past seven decades. We are not talking about why so many men lost their jobs — automation, outsourcing jobs overseas, factories closing, layoffs, even perhaps more women entering the workforce, and the participation rate of women workers over the same time has gone up! What we wish to know is how they’re living without holding a “real” job! The wealthier our nation is over the decades, the lesser the working men numbers. There is too much money sloshing around in our country and men are able get their hands on it, whether legally or not! Working legally to provide for yourself, is another option these days. Billionaires pay no taxes while workers get no raises!