/Why Are Millennial Men Dropping Out of the Labor Force?

Why Are Millennial Men Dropping Out of the Labor Force?

Millennial Men are having an employment crisis–more than any other demographic. Why aren’t these men taking jobs?

Bloomberg writes about a young man named Nathan Butcher:

Weary of long days earning minimum wage, he quit his job in a pizzeria in June. He wants new employment but won’t take a gig he’ll hate. So for now, the Pittsburgh native and father to young children is living with his mother and training to become an emergency medical technician, hoping to get on the ladder toward a better life.

Ten years after the Great Recession, 25- to 34-year-old men are lagging in the workforce more than any other age and gender demographic. About 500,000 more would be punching the clock today had their employment rate returned to pre-downturn levels. Many, like Butcher, say they’re in training. Others report disability. All are missing out on a hot labor market and crucial years on the job, ones traditionally filled with the promotions and raises that build the foundation for a career.

“At some point, you can have a bit of an effect of a lost generation,” according to David Dorn, an economist at the University of Zurich. “If you get to the point where you’re turning 30, you’ve never held a real job and you don’t have a college education, then it is very hard to recover at that point.”

Men — long America’s economically privileged gender — have been dogged in recent decades by high incarceration and swollen disability rates. They hemorrhaged high-paying jobs after technology and globalization hit manufacturing and mining.