Getting Back To Work

Why is an important segment of the U.S. population underutilized?

As one who travels a lot for work, it was nice to stay at home during the recent holiday season. I avoided business matters as much as I could.

Work is back in full swing now, and travel resumes next week. But there is a sizeable community of young American men who are still at home without business matters to attend to. Their situations illustrate opportunities and challenges in the American labor market.

There are about 44 million American men between the ages of 25 and 44, a time of life which is traditionally associated with high rates of employment. Yet members of this cohort are much less likely to be working than they were 20 years ago. The percentage of working women in this age group is higher than it was prior to the pandemic; men of similar ages are working less.

The trend away from work raises the question of how these folks are getting by. A little over 20% of them are supported by their partners, while most of the rest rely on their parents. According to Census data, almost 20% of men aged 25-34 are still at home, a significant increase from two decades ago.

US Employment to Population Ratio