Where Have All the Workers Gone? by Patrick J. Buchanan

With the Baby Boomers going on Social Security and Medicare at a rate of 300,000 a month, and scores or hundreds of thousands going on disability rolls and quitting the labor force every month, what kind of future are we looking at?

That America created only 88,000 jobs in March, less than half the number anticipated, was jolting news, indicating the recovery that the White House has boasted about may not be at hand.

But in that March jobs report, there was more disturbing news. While unemployment fell to 7.6 percent, the reason it fell is alarming.

Half a million U.S. workers (495,000) disappeared from the labor force. They dropped out. They are no longer even looking for a job.

Worse, this appears to be an inexorable trend. The participation rate of eligible workers in the United States has fallen to 63.3 percent, a level unseen since Jimmy Carter gave his malaise speech in 1979.

These folks, who have quit working and quit looking, who are they? How do they support themselves? What does this surging dropout rate from the workforce portend for America’s future?

Disproportionately, the dropouts are young, black, Hispanic, female, working class. Some have gone home to live with their parents and may have re-enrolled in school to re-enter the job market better prepared. But other indices are troubling.


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