The Fed Won't Save Us From The Growing Jobs Recession

However, the unemployment figure can be very misleading when there are millions of Americans who desperately want to work but who have given up hope of finding a job. Since they are no longer actively seeking work, poof! They’re no longer counted among the unemployed.

One way to sidestep this problem is to ask: What percentage of the civilian labor force does have a job? Yet even here cultural trends can influence the significance of such a figure. For example, more women entered the official workforce in the 1970s and beyond, which tended to increase the labor-force participation rate. In addition, people are living longer while the birth rate has declined, and thus the “aging” of the population also might affect these statistics.

In an attempt to isolate what we really want to know, in the following chart I am just focusing on men aged 25–54. Out of this demographic, what percentage held a job over time? The chart below gives us the alarming result:

male participation employment

(Note that the y-axis starts at 75, not 0.) As this last chart reveals, among men aged 25–54, the employment rate is not much above the trough it hit following the financial crisis. More generally, we see that with each recession (the gray bars) going back to the 1980s, prime-age male employment never returned to its previous level.

Conclusion

The year 2020 has seen the Keynesian policy solutions—have the authorities print and borrow money—applied in unprecedented fashion. To be sure, no matter how bleak the economy may be, the Keynesians can always say, “It would have been worse without us.” Yet those steeped in Austrian economics understand the importance of sound money and (if we are going to have a government) fiscal prudence. On top of the outrageous lockdowns of business and even residential gatherings, what the Treasury and Fed have done this year is scandalous.

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