The Long-term Decline in Prime-age Male Labor Force Participation

Front Cover
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Jan 11, 2017 - 48 pages
For more than sixty years, the share of American men between the ages of 25 and 54, or "prime-age men," in the labor force has been declining. This fall in the prime-age male labor force participation rate, from a peak of 98 percent in 1954 to 88 percent today, is particularly troubling since workers at this age are at their most productive; because of this, the long-run decline has outsized implications for individual well-being as well as for broader economic growth. A large body of evidence has linked joblessness to worse economic prospects in the future, lower overall well-being and happiness, and higher mortality, as well as negative consequences for families and communities.This report documents the trend of declining prime-age male labor force participation over the last half century in both a historical and international context, examines a number of potential explanations, and discusses the policies President Obama has proposed to address it.

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