Almost one quarter of Americans between 25-54 not working

An eye-popping figure from the Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee; 23.2% of workers between the ages of 25-54 are unemployed or out of the labor force.

Weekly Standard quotes from the report:

"There are 124.5 million Americans in their prime working years (ages 25–54). Nearly one-quarter of this group—28.9 million people, or 23.2 percent of the total—is not currently employed. They either became so discouraged that they left the labor force entirely, or they are in the labor force but unemployed. This group of non-employed individuals is more than 3.5 million larger than before the recession began in 2007," writes the Republican side of the Senate Budget Committee.

"Those attempting to minimize the startling figures about America’s vanishing workforce—workplace participation overall is near a four-decade low—will say an aging population is to blame. But in fact, while the workforce overall has shrunk nearly 10 million since 2009, the cohort of workers in the labor force ages 55 to 64 has actually increased over that same period, with many delaying retirement due to poor economic conditions.

"In fact, over two-thirds of all labor force dropouts since that time have been under the age of 55. These statistics illustrate that the problems in the American economy are deep, profound, and pervasive, afflicting the sector of the labor force that should be among the most productive."

One caveat to this report: As good paying jobs have disappeared, a lot of those productive workers have taken their talents and expertise and are working as independent contractors, consultants, or have started their own small businesses. Many of them had no choice, given the labor situation. But as bleak as those numbers appear to be, the future looks even more stark. It's hard to see where jobs paying wages that would allow workers to support their families in a middle class lifestyle are going to come from.

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