Skip to comments.Where Have All the Workers Gone?
Posted on 04/09/2013 10:26:34 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
That America created only 88,000 jobs in March, less than half the number anticipated, was jolting news, indicating the recovery that the White House has boasted about may not be at hand.
But in that March jobs report, there was more disturbing news.
While unemployment fell to 7.6 percent, the reason it fell is alarming.
Half a million U.S. workers (495,000) disappeared from the labor force. They dropped out. They are no longer even looking for a job.
Worse, this appears to be an inexorable trend. The participation rate of eligible workers in the United States has fallen to 63.3 percent, a level unseen since Jimmy Carter gave his malaise speech in 1979.
These folks, who have quit working and quit looking, who are they?
How do they support themselves? What does this surging dropout rate from the workforce portend for America's future?
Disproportionately, the dropouts are young, black, Hispanic, female, working class. Some have gone home to live with their parents and may have re-enrolled in school to re-enter the job market better prepared.
But other indices are troubling.
Though we have been creating jobs for two years, even if at a torpid pace, the food stamps rolls have soared to 47 million at a cost of $80 billion. When George W. Bush departed, 31 million Americans were on food stamps. Fifty years ago, there was no food stamp program. Yet, now more than one in seven Americans is fed by government.
In another shocking number, almost 9 million Americans ages 20 to 64 years old--nearly 5 percent of the working-age population -- is receiving disability pay. Among workers 55 to 64, 10 percent are on disability. Few of those folks will ever enter the job market again.
In 1971, only 1.5 percent of U.S. workers were on disability. Yet, today's workplace is a less hazardous and safer place than it was back when manufacturing was a far larger factor in the economy.
Other questions are raised by the Friday numbers released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Why is Asian unemployment 5 percent, while the Hispanic rate is more than 9 percent and the African-American rate more than 13 percent?
Do Asian-Americans and Asian immigrants have a superior work ethic or superior capacities for work and success in a post-industrial economy?
And with 14 percent of the U.S. labor force unemployed, underemployed or having quit looking for work, why is Congress about to grant amnesty to 12 million illegal aliens who are taking and doing jobs that might otherwise go to unemployed Americans?
Patriotism argues that we enforce the laws against businesses that hire illegals and declare a time-out on handing out a million green cards every year to foreign folks to come here and work, until our own fellow countrymen are fully employed.
As to why so many are dropping out of the U.S. labor force, politically incorrect thoughts come to mind. Have we made idleness so appealing we are killing the work incentives of millions, and perhaps tens of millions, who would prefer not to work, if they don't have to work?
In the 19th century, the phrase was "root, hog or die." Raise crops, farm animals or starve. From the Jamestown colony to the 20th century, America was a self-sufficient society in which all understand St. Paul's epistle to the Thessalonians, "He who does not work, neither shall he eat."
During Depression days and World War II up through the 1950s, the necessities of life were provided by the individual himself or herself or by the family.
Today, however, government provides for almost all of the needs of those who claim they cannot provide for themselves.
There is the welfare program Temporary Aid for Needy Families.
Medicaid pays the health care costs. Head Start, free public schools K-12, Pell grants and student loans take care of education from cradle through college.
School breakfasts, lunches and food stamps take care of feeding folks who say they cannot feed themselves. So successful are these programs that obesity is most prevalent among food stamp recipients. Then there are the unemployment checks, rent and energy subsidies and endless tax credits for taxes never paid.
The impolitic questions that arise are these:
Has the welfare state killed the work ethic for a rising share of the American people? If you can live a comfortable life with your food, shelter, health care, education and income paid for or subsidized, why work when you don't have to?
Today, the top 1 percent of Americans in income pays 37 percent of all income taxes. The top half of wage earners pays 98 percent of all income taxes. How long can one-half of America carry the other?
With the Baby Boomers going on Social Security and Medicare at a rate of 300,000 a month, and scores or hundreds of thousands going on disability rolls and quitting the labor force every month, what kind of future are we looking at?
Some people bust their humps trying to get ahead, and others are happy to be carried along.
They sit home and watch Ellen!!!!!!!
In other words: Unexpected!
May not be at hand?? Is there anyone on the planet with one neuron still firing who thinks otherwise?
Disability is the NEW welfare.
We’re just not printing paper money fast enough.
We’re just not taxing and regulating the businessman enough.
We’re just not giving out enough freebies.
We need to extend unemployment benefits for life.
We’re not clamping down on the energy industry enough.
We’re not confiscating retirement funds fast enough.
Government is just not big enough to take care of all of the people.
Gone to wistfuldom, everyone....
He should not show up on unemployment numbers since he retired. His job would likely be counted as a “new” job when he went back to work. This was common in our state government until an investigative reporter did several stories on several people that retired and went back to work in their old job. When people found out it was happening they raised a stink and put an end to it here. The feeling is that if they want to go back to work after retirement they need to take an entry level job and not go right back into their old position. Most declined to do that I am pretty sure.
The startling rise of disability in America....this will get your blood flowing.
I pose this question:
Do we trust the people counting the total job force?
Don’t ignore the fact that without that figure falling the reported unemployment rate would be well north of 10 or 11 percent. That would not be good for Obama and the Dems. So the motivation to cheat is certainly there.
The Safety Net has officially become a hammock.
According to the Labor Dept., 11,742,000 people are currently unemployed
In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says that there are 89,967,000 working age Americans that are “not in the labor force”. That is a new all-time record, and that number increased by a whopping 663,000 during the month of March alone.
I wonder if we should add the 11 Million to the 89 Million, because if that is the correct methodology, we have nearly 100 Million who are not working in America.
That’s almost equal to the population of Spain and Italy combined.
The 90 million not in the labor force is at an all time high because the population is at an all time high. The percentage not in the work force is nowhere near an all time low and has been trending down since the 1990's.
More like, how long can the top 5% of American earners support the bottom half, especially when so many people have elected to drop out of productive work and are comfortable with living out their remaining years on the government dole?
More and more, I see government spending and tax policy as a moral issue. The top 5% should not have to pay for a large chunk of the country to live without working. Everyone should work until a reasonable retirement age. Everyone should pay some taxes and not shift the burden almost entirely to the "rich."
"I swear by my life, and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine."
That's easy, in 11 states, the "workers" are getting a minimum of $30.00 tax-free per hour on combined government (read OUR TAXES) assistance, including but not limited to disability, while the taxpayers in those states earn an average of $20.00 taxable per hour!
Going to school and working several jobs. It is k
cking my butt.
Exactly. What I find 'disturbing' is how many people say they'd somehow been expecting good news.
Welfare, food stamps, disability. Why bother to work?
There was a very interesting article in the WSJ yesterday that said that the Obama administration, in an attempt to conceal unemployment stats, encouraged people to apply for SS Disability, often on the flimsiest of pretexts. The disability rolls have exploded, putting a huge burden on social security and of course keeping these people out of the labor force forever. This is expected to be a major drag on the economy in the future and require tens of BILLIONS of dollars in unnecessary disability spending.
It isn’t just disability. Just think you are a young couple on the edge of poverty with 2 kids and you were both working. One of you lost your job and stayed home with the kids and you realized that savings, then you got on food stamps, and someone referred you to HUD housing and you get Medicaid and there is no need to even look for another job. You can get by as well or better than you did when both of you worked.
“Where have all the workers gone?” Global political, business and academic leaders are not on the side of American workers or America in general. That much is for sure.
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I do not expect significant good economic news until January 20, 2016, at the earliest. I'm not confident that we'll get it then, but I would be amazed if it came sooner.
It doesn't, at least not directly. Indirectly, it increases government's parasitic load on the economy, thus making it harder for employers to employ.
If he had really retired, and the county had hired one of those recent grads living in their parents' basement, that would have reduced the unemployment number. Unless, of course, the retiree had gone looking for another job unsuccessfully.
But the real question here is, how long does your neighbor have to work in his new old job before he can retire a second time?
To where the work is?
How long WILL one-half of America carry the other?
RE: How long WILL one-half of America carry the other?
What will an America where one half of those working REFUSES to carry the other any longer look like?
Benjamin Franklin once said ‘do not make the poor too comfortable in their poverty’.
a war zone?
I read in the WSJ yesterday that 1 in 200 people who go on disability eventually return to "on the books" employment.