The collapse in the labor force participation rate has been one of the key stories of the great recession. The participation rate is the percentage of the working age population in the labor force.
The labor force participation rate has fallen from 66.2% in May 2008 to just 64.5% in November 2010.
A few weeks ago I looked at Labor Force Participation Rate: What will happen?. I looked at the aging of the population and concluded that the participation rate will probably increase to around 66% over the next 5 years before declining again - and that will keep upward pressure on the unemployment rate.
However one of the key trends has been the decline in the participation rate of men - and that is continuing.
I think there are other reasons for this trend.
1) As a result of child support delinquencies, many men are dropping out of the work force in order to avoid payment.There's usually more than one woman willing to take these d-bags in. Just look at any nurse or school teacher.
2) Frankly, as a result of the woman's movement where women are allowed to "have it all", they get to. And that includes a man who doesn't want to work or work "under the table".
3) Because of the earned income credit, it's actually against a woman's economic interest to marry. As a result, they're willing to tolerate a man who uses and deals drugs or does some other low end labor.
I continually say that the woman's movement and pressure to hire women has resulted in a large segment of our population to just kick their heals back and say "you go girl". Congratulations, you've succeeded.