MB 360–There continues to be an inordinately large number of Americans that are not in the labor force. There are a variety of reasons as to why these Americans are not working. Some are retired and some are disabled. But the reality is we have a massive number of people that need to be supported either by their own funds or government assistance. When you look at our total population, we have roughly 1 private sector worker supporting 2 Americans. In this article I wanted to examine the nature of the 95 million Americans not in the labor force.
The army of those not in the labor force
We have a growing number of Americans that are not in the labor force. Since 1990 we have added more than 30 million Americans to this category.
Take a look at this chart:
Let us look at the figures:
Now you need to remember that this is a massive cohort of 95 million. Just break down a few categories here:
Going to school: 17+ million
Could not find work: Roughly 1 million
Ill or disabled: 18+ million
It is probably worth noting that many people going to college are getting into massive debt that they are unable to pay back while starting out in low wage jobs. We’ve also discussed that many are going into “retirement” but are really depending largely on Social Security to not end up on the streets.
Now some people don’t think this is an issue but given the rising cost of liabilities and are push to cut back on taxes, this is an issue. It is one of those items that is ignored until it is too late. We have already tasted the elixir of low interest rates brought on by the Federal Reserve and there is probably no going back on this.
Many people are dropping out of the labor force. A very common spot to end up in is college. Now college can be a powerful tool to regroup and find a new path. Education is something that is important whether you go to school or learn on your own. But going into $100,000 of debt for a degree with no market value is going to become an albatross for many. Student debt is now a national crisis.
What is telling is the proportion of those 25 to 54 that are not in the labor force:
This is normally the peak employment age range. What is going on? You have nearly 25% of this group out of the workforce. We’ve talked about the large number of Millennials living at home.
So the above should give you a better idea of who is not in the work force. Again this is rarely talked about in the mainstream press.