The Nose Dive: What the Heck Happened to Our Prime-Age Workers?

More
Here's a picture Republicans love to show off and Democrats love to ignore. It shows the percentage of people between 25 and 54 who have a job -- regardless of whether they're looking for work or are in school or not, from the BLS.

See if you can spot when the recovery kicked in.

EPop2.png

You know when the recession began. That's the nose dive. And it's not hard to tell when the recession ended. That's when the nose dive stops. But what about the recovery? We never really got one. We got wiggles instead.

As Peter Whoriskey points out in the Washington Post, the current employment-population ratio for 25 to 54 year-olds is the lowest it's been in the 23 years that preceded the financial crisis. The mini-jobs surge this past winter was the closest thing we've had to a real recovery, but even with it we're still in a deep, deep hole.

It's really remarkable that we've spent the past three years debating deficits and inflation when the jobs picture is still so grim. Tragic, actually. Not just for the people who want work and can't find it, but for all of us. The longer we take to put people back to work, the bigger the hit to our collective human capital -- and long-term productive capacity. We need to stop wiggling.
Jump to comments
Presented by

Matthew O'Brien

Matthew O'Brien is a former senior associate editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

This Short Film Skewers Hollywood, Probably Predicts Disney's Next Hit

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

How Will Climate Change Affect Cities?

Urban planners and environmentalists predict the future of city life.

Video

The Inner Life of a Drag Queen

A short documentary about cross-dressing, masculinity, identity, and performance

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Business

Just In