Summary of The Long-Term Decline in Prime-Age Male Labor Force Participation

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Prime-age male labor participation has trended downward, globally, for decades, but why is the decline in the United States particularly severe? This 2016 analysis by the Obama administration White House uses statistical evidence to help uncover reasons behind the decline. Additionally, the report explains how institutional factors contribute to the negative trend and which policy changes could improve the situation. getAbstract recommends its findings to those interested in socioeconomic trends.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why more and more young American men are jobless and not looking for employment,
  • How decreasing demand and institutional factors affect prime-age male labor participation, and
  • Which policy changes could help prime-age males rejoin the labor market.

About the Author

The White House Council of Economic Advisers is an agency within the Executive Office of the President that advises the US president on economic policy. This report was produced during the Barack Obama administration.



Since the 1960s, the number of men aged 25-54 years who are jobless and not looking for employment has increased. Employment leads to better health for men, a decrease in the probability of death by suicide or alcohol, and less crime in communities. Also, when men leave the workforce, they are less likely to make up the wages and opportunities they lost due to unemployment.

Among black males and men without a college education, the decrease in labor market participation has been the most pronounced. Demographic...

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