CNBC.com: More men in their prime working years lack jobs, says WSJ:
A large number of men who are still in their prime working years find themselves without jobs for extended periods, despite an improving economy, according to a piece in The Wall Street Journal.
The trend has been building for decades. The percentage of unemployed men 25 to 54 more than doubled between the early 1970s and 2007, from 6 percent to 13 percent, before jumping to 20 percent in the depths of the recession in 2009, according to the article.
I think the key piece of the CNBC article is here:
As of December 2013, 17 percent of men are not working. Of that group, about two-thirds are not looking for work, which excludes them from the government’s official unemployment numbers.
My guess is that many of those men are working, just not on the books or many have decided to collect SSI disability instead of working or as a supplement to off the book work.