The country is undergoing simultaneous plagues that are creating an employment catastrophe for men in their prime working years. There is the coronavirus plague, which attacks the poorest and unhealthiest among us, and then there is the plague of discontent among men unable to find suitable employment.
While women have joined the workforce en masse in recent decades, men — and their sons who could once rely on factory jobs to support a family — have seen those jobs disappear as corporate profits increased.
Using the latest establishment payroll survey released on Friday, we estimate that 18% of prime-working age men, or those 25 to 54 years old, are either unemployed or have become discouraged and have stopped looking for work. That is an improvement from the 24% non-employed rate in May, but remains near 2008-10 Great Recession-era levels of unrecoverable economic output, household wealth and self-worth.
For more information on how the coronavirus is affecting midsize businesses, please visit the RSM Coronavirus Resource Center.