Shocking: The Crisis No One Talks About

FEMA Photo Library
You can slice a loaf of bread many different ways. The same is true for how unemployment rates are reported.
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the unemployment rate for August 2016 was 4.9 percent, reflecting only people who have tried to find employment in the last four weeks. Millions of Americans are not counted. About 2 million Americans are “marginally attached”; they’ve looked for a job in the last year but not in the last month. Another 6 million are working part-time but desire full-time work. says if you want to include these 8 million people, the unemployment rate is actually 9.9 percent.
Trump has been criticized for saying that the “true” unemployment rate is much, much higher. And Nicholas Ebserstadt, author of “Men Without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis”, agrees. The author summarized key points in a recent WSJ article. He refers to the “vast army of jobless men”—seven million of them, aged 25 to 54—which has steadily grown over the last 50 years. Clearly it is a crisis, but one that is never publicly discussed. Obama and Clinton brag that the US is near “full employment”, which is patently untrue. Last year, only 84.4% of American males in this age range were employed—lower than at the end of the Great Depression. Ebserstadt says the last time we were truly at “full employment”, was in 1965. During Obama’s tenure, unemployment in men aged 20 or older rose from 19% to 32%. And there is a group of men considered totally outside the labor force—not working and not looking for work. And they’re not destitute, but instead are living off employed Americans, who consistently rank as the hardest working people of all developed countries.
The unworking are native born, never married, less educated, and African-American. About 10 percent are students, but the other 90 percent are idle NEETs, a British term meaning “neither employed nor in education or training”. They literally do nothing—they don’t help around the house or volunteer, and time-use surveys show that these leeches spend 3,000 hours a year relaxing and socializing, spending much of their time watching TV and playing video games. This group has evolved over the last two generations regardless of how good or bad the economy is, and there is a substantial increase in enrollment in government disability programs and dependence on welfare. In short, these unworking men have greatly contributed to the US poverty rate. Ebserstadt describes it as the “grave social ill” that is overlooked by everyone from the news media to political parties.
Trump’s campaign website states that 14 million people have left the workforce, resulting in the lowest labor force participation since the 1970’s. About 23.7 million Americans in their prime-earning years [ages 25-54] are out of the labor force, and 1 in 5 households do not have a single working family member. More than 12 million additional Americans are on food stamps under Obama, and a whopping 45 percent of African-American children under 6 live in poverty because their fathers don’t work. Imagine how different our country would be if these people returned to paying jobs. Imagine indeed.