Since the 2007 recession, unemployment has been a slow gradual recovery, and the American dream has all but faded away. Central Bank scandals, ongoing wars, and the repeated failure of our government to create any type of bi-partisanship has led to nationwide distrust in the current administration and created the opportunity for extremism. You might have heard about unemployment continually on the rise, and that there are 92 million people who are not actively pursuing work. Presidential candidates like Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz have cited this number in their campaign speeches. Be wary of misguided, one-sided sound bites and fear-mongering tactics that just cloud the real reasoning from the true causes and conditions of our current state of affairs.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics from data released in March 2015, the number of people 16 and older who are not actively looking for work or in the military, prison, an institution, or a nursing home has risen to 93 million people. That means 62% of American people are not choosing to actively pursue employment.
Let’s break down these figures. BLS statistics show that in April 2015, the civilian non-institutional population was at 250,000,000; out of that number, there were 156,000,000 who were currently employed, with only 8,000,000 unemployed people currently looking for work. This is roughly a 5.5% unemployment rate. However, there is an astounding 93,000,000, which is around 62% of Americans not looking for work.
What causes this substantial indication of labor force anemia? The main factors are school, retirement, illness/disability, and taking care of family. It should come as no surprise that the man cause for 16-20 year-olds is related to education, and that retirement is the main cause to those over 60. This really brings this figure to 20 million people who are not actively pursuing employment. Are most of them just refusing to work, or have they just lost faith in the system completely? So when we break down the numbers we find common-sense reasoning for these figures and natural causes for the insurmountable odds that “92 million out of work” has created.
It might be worrisome that so many young people have just chosen not to participate. What are the reasons for this decline in the younger population of the workforce? Maybe they don’t want to get caught up in the struggle of constantly trying to get ahead?
With the advent and prevalence of the Internet, there are so many opportunities for freelancing and entrepreneurship that being under someone else’s thumb might seem counterproductive to the more individualized society in which we live in today. This generation is not part of the same Protestant work ethic past that has so long driven industry. They have chosen a more diverse path, one with decidedly more options; and they have taken advantage of technology as a possible solution to the complexities of failed economic policies.