A new chart released by the GOP minority members of the Senate Budget Committee illustrates an unsettling reality: Nearly one-quarter of Americans 25-54 are jobless.
According to the chart, 28.9 million Americans who are in their prime working years are now absent from the labor market, compared to 95.6 million 25-to-54-year-olds who are currently employed.
Among those unemployed, the GOP Budget Committee members report, 10 million U.S. men in their prime working years “ are simply not working.”
One out of 8 men in the U.S. have left the labor force altogether, according to the GOP numbers. That’s the highest level of labor force disengagement among men ages 25 to 54 since records began in 1955.
Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee explain:
There are 124.5 million Americans in their prime working years (ages 25-54). Nearly one-quarter of this group — 28.9 million people, or 23.2 percent of the total — is not currently employed. They either became so discouraged that they left the labor force entirely, or they are in the labor force but unemployed. This group of non-employed individuals is more than 3.5 million larger than before the recession began in 2007.
Those attempting to minimize the startling figures about America’s vanishing workforce — workplace participation overall is near a four-decade low — will say an aging population is to blame. But in fact, while the workforce overall has shrunk nearly 10 million since 2009, the cohort of workers in the labor force ages 55 to 64 has actually increased over that same period, with many delaying retirement due to poor economic conditions.
The Department of Labor continues to report modest declines in jobless rates, despite the abysmal numbers above. That’s largely because the DOL statistics don’t count Americans who have given up looking for work as jobless; all of those people are, in the eyes of government, happily unemployed.