In 1997 -- 14 years before the supposed wave of retiring baby boomers were to start hitting the economy -- the number of workers participating in labor peaked at 68.1%. This after having climbed from a low of 57.9% in 1965. Compared to that high in 1997, the current participation rate has fallen nearly 8% to today's level of 62.8%; now equaling levels not seen since 1978. And the current decline -- post recession -- has significantly accelerated since 2007.
So, how do 58 million workers survive not working?
Many find filing for Social Security disability insurance a new way to get a lifetime of pay without having to work. As a result, we now have a record 11 million on disability; or, approximately, one out of every fourteen working age citizens collecting insurance. Because of poor economic times, 36 percent of 18-to-31 year-olds or more than 21 million are living at home; most not working. This, too, is the reason that gang membership has swelled to 1.4 million; up from 1 million in 2009 and 750,000 in 2000. The welfare rolls have been exploding with 15% of the population or 46.5 million in poverty and many eligible for full benefits including income. Others aren't working because of college or the military.
The declining trend in labor participation is putting this country at risk economically. As the participation rate declines, it means that fewer and fewer of us are paying taxes and paying towards programs like Social Security and Medicare; and, subsequently, more and more of us are living off of the government instead of assisting it.
Essentially, the decline in labor participation also means that America is becoming a poorer country with incomes either stagnant or declining while the cost of living increases at a faster pace. This is evidenced by the fact that median incomes in the U.S. pretty much peaked in 1998; exactly one year after the 1997 peak in the participation rate:
America must wake up to the fact that the country is in decline with too few people working. We are becoming the very essence of the European economies that have high unemployment; high taxes; unmanageable government debt; and, low business profits. You can find all kinds of reasons for this: an increasingly poorly educated workforce with the good jobs either going overseas or being handed to better educated immigrants on work visas; or, because of increased government regulation that accelerated during the Clinton years and are even more oppressive under Obama; and/or, too high taxes on businesses that continue to make our companies less competitive in a world marketplace and which, prevent both the volume and quality of jobs being created. At the same time we need to reassess all of our government assistance programs to insure that people who can work do work.
Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate: http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/LNU01300000
Disability Beneficiaries Hit New Record: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/terence-p-jeffrey/10996447-disability-beneficiaries-hit-new-record
June 2014: Civilian Workforce Participation Rate: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.a.htm
America’s Shameful Poverty Stats: http://www.thenation.com/article/176242/americas-shameful-poverty-stats
A Record 21.6 Million Millennials Living With Parents: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/01/millennials-live-with-parents_n_3690870.html
2009 Gang Statistics: http://www.statisticbrain.com/gang-statistics/
2014 Gang Data: http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/investigate/vc_majorthefts/gangs
Median Income Falls For 5th Year, Inequality At Record High: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/17/median-income-falls-inequality_n_3941514.html
Year-to-Year U.S. Inflation Calculator: http://www.usinflationcalculator.com/