The group missing from the labor market

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic and evolving economic circumstances, middle-aged men have had a slower return to the workforce than other groups, The New York Times reported Dec. 2.

The newspaper cited data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showing about 87 percent of men ages 35 to 44 were working as of October, compared to 88.3 percent in early 2020. This compares to employment rates for middle-aged women and for both younger and older men, which data shows have rebounded more fully.

According to The New York Times, economists cite various factors as to why middle-aged men are missing from the labor market. These factors include evolving social norms related to parenthood and marriage as well as changing opportunities for jobs in certain occupations and not others.  

Economists also cite the effects from the 2008 to 2009 economic downturn, around the time many middle-aged men started their careers, in addition to automation and globalization altering the job market, the newspaper reported.

Bureau of Labor Statistics data did find that employment decline has been higher among middle-aged men who do not have a four-year college degree.

To read the full report, click here.

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