Where men don’t work

This is the sort of map you could spend all morning looking at.

It’s part of the New York Times’ fascinating story today on the number of men who aren’t working.

The data has been broken down in this visualization.

Parts of it are a little misleading — the high rate in a section of Maplewood might have something to do with the fact the county workhouse is there, for example — but the bigger picture painted by the Times’ article is pretty stark: Working America is in decline, it says.

Many men, in particular, have decided that low-wage work will not improve their lives, in part because deep changes in American society have made it easier for them to live without working. These changes include the availability of federal disability benefits; the decline of marriage, which means fewer men provide for children; and the rise of the Internet, which has reduced the isolation of unemployment.

At the same time, it has become harder for men to find higher-paying jobs. Foreign competition and technological advances have eliminated many of the jobs in which high school graduates like Mr. Walsh once could earn $40 an hour, or more. The poll found that 85 percent of prime-age men without jobs do not have bachelor’s degrees. And 34 percent said they had criminal records, making it hard to find any work.

The resulting absence of millions of potential workers has serious consequences not just for the men and their families but for the nation as a whole. A smaller work force is likely to lead to a slower-growing economy, and will leave a smaller share of the population to cover the cost of government, even as a larger share seeks help.

“They’re not working, because it’s not paying them enough to work,” said Alan B. Krueger, a leading labor economist and a professor at Princeton. “And that means the economy is going to be smaller than it otherwise would be.”

But 44 percent of the men in the survey said there were jobs in their area, but they’re not willing to take them.

  • davehoug

    But 44 percent of the men in the survey said there were jobs in their area, but they’re not willing to take them. = = = BECAUSE employers find enough to work at the pay offered. Adding 5 million illegals has consequences in labor supply and demand. 12 million who do not have the right to work but are working + easy imports + sufficient government aid + fewer of jobs that pay well all up the line = a reasonable choice to NOT trade 40 hours of time for low pay and to live unemployed.

    Disability pay is forever as many have learned and used the system.

    • And yet the jobs aren’t being filled. Theoretically, in a system based on supply and demand, there’s a solution for that problem.

      • davehoug

        In a system based on supply and demand……if I can find enough good applicants at $, I will not be paying $$. If I choose to trade my time for $$ but not $, and can’t find a job at $$, then I stay home.

      • davehoug

        If a job needs to be filled, but NOT enough good applicants at $, then the solution is to pay $$. If the job does NOT make my profit increase at $$ then I am better off with an unfilled job at $ and wait until I find an applicant willing to work at $.

        You can be sure the unfilled jobs can be filled (drawing from 50 states) IF they paid very well……..I may not be willing to pay that level so I advocate for more H1B visas, allowing illegals the right to work, look at purchasing the work from “independent contractors” or the item from off-shore if possible.

        You can get all the crop pickers you want at $20 an hour, but you can’t sell your crop compared to the guy importing the crop cheaper than you can sell it.

    • This paragraph:

      He drew unemployment benefits for another year before finding a warehouse job loading groceries for the Peapod delivery service. This time he was fired on Dec. 13 — like many who have lost jobs, he remembers the date immediately and precisely — after he asked for a vacation day, he said, to care for his dying mother.

      • davehoug

        Sad to say, an employer is willing to fire for asking for a vacation day only if he knows another good applicant for the warehouse job is easy to find…….and he is not worried about his reputation as a rotten place to work.

        I am not saying it is right, just that it is reality. Some business models are built with high turnover (think warehouse and fast food) and some on keeping high quality people (think high-end restaurant).

        • Kassie

          Luckily in Minnesota, he can’t be fired for taking a day to care for a dying parent anymore (with some exceptions.) “Built for high turnover” or not, firing people for asking for time off to be with their loved ones is total BS.

          • davehoug

            firing people for asking for time off to be with their loved ones is total BS. = = = AND bad karma and a rotten way to run a business. I would hate to employ a manager that was running off good people.

          • davehoug

            Tell me more about this MN law, does the day come with full pay? only parents? time limit? Glad I live in MN.

          • Kassie

            It is expanded FMLA benefits. You can take sick leave to care for a sick parent, even if you don’t live with the parent. Also can take sick leave if you need to hide or obtain a safer place to live due to domestic abuse or stalking. The law specifically states “An employer shall not retaliate against an employee for requesting or obtaining a leave of absence” due to needing to care for a loved one or seeking shelter from abuse.


          • davehoug

            THANKS for the info. Sounds like if sick leave with pay is not offered for other causes, this only allows the time off work with the job held until return, no pay 🙁

    • Charlie Hurd

      By now just about everyone knows several people who are on disability and are able bodied enough to function happily at home and in society. They could work, if they had to.

      • I do. But I don’t pretend to have any knowledge of their medical history or condition.

        • Kassie

          Exactly. Someone may look full functioning, but have medical issues you do not know about. Traumatic Brain Injury is the first I think of. In some cases someone can look strong and healthy, seems smart and aware, but really can’t do basic tasks.

  • Charlie Hurd

    It would be nice to see a comparison with women.

    • Simple Buyer

      That’s where it gets *really* fuzzy. The work men have traditionally done can be tracked in a readily accessible way, either because it’s paid or the garage is clean. Parenting, though, traditionally Mom’s job and still mostly is, can’t (yet) be quantified, much less tracked. The parents who engage in the job produce happier, more productive kids, but you can’t see that until the kids start to produce/work (trackable work). Remember when Mom’s wanted to “have it all?” These lovely stats, and the ethics that go with them, IMHO, is a result of the 80’s wealth-driven culture, and our blindness to the value of the work of raising a contented and ethical generation.

      With wage stats as they are, single parents having to (barely) support families, and the short-sighted direction government spending has been turning since about the 80’s, I don’t see much improvement on the horizon.

  • E

    For what it’s worth, the dark spot just east of “MInneapolis” looks like it’s student housing for the U of MN, so lower employment rates are expected. Granted, the demographic considered is older than the typical student.

  • kevinfromminneapolis

    This is not good. At all.

    I wonder how it might affect gender pay ratios though?