News & Politics

Fundamentally Changed: Americans Giving Up on Work

When I was growing up, there used to be something called the “dignity of work.” It was a Christian concept (from which the proto-Marxists stole their “labor theory of value”and monetized it) that declared the inherent nobility of work — any kind of work — as contrasted with idleness, drunkeness, indolence, etc. It seems a bit old-fashioned now, but while it was a widely held “American value,” the country was a better place.

Today, not so much:

Forty percent of Americans who are capable of working but who don’t have a job say they have completely given up looking for work, according to a new report.

The findings of a survey conducted by Express Employment Professionals show that the longer an individual has been out of the labor force, the more likely they are to say they have given up looking. More than half – 55 percent – of those out of work for more than two years say they have given up, while 21 percent of those out of labor force for three months or less say the same.

“Sometimes people get so frustrated with their job prospects that they give up looking for work altogether,” states the report. “If they’re not looking for work, then they’re not officially counted among the ‘unemployed’ according to the government.”

That’s one way to get the unemployment rate down. Another is to replace manufacturing jobs with service jobs, and then act like they’re pretty much the same thing.

While many tout the improvement in the unemployment rate since the recession, which dropped from 10 percent in October 2009 to 5 percent in October 2015, the labor force participation rate has continued to decline.

“As Americans started going back to work and businesses started hiring, a strange thing happened: the [labor force participation rate] kept going down,” states the report. “More and more Americans were still leaving the labor force, even with the economy growing again.”

According to the report, historical declines in unemployment have correlated with growth in labor force participation. The current, dramatic drop in the labor force participation rate defies this precedent.

“Sometimes the good news of a falling unemployment rate hides the bad news of dispirited workers leaving the labor force,” states the report.

“Dispirited” — the perfect epitaph for the Age of Obama.