Published January 17, 2023
In 2016, Nicholas Eberstadt highlighted the exodus of adult men from the workforce in his book Men Without Work. Millions of men ages 25-54 don’t have a job and aren’t looking for one. Worklessness among these prime-working-age men is at a level not seen since the end of the Great Depression in 1940 when work simply wasn’t available.
In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, more than 10 million jobs are vacant. That’s about three million more openings than the number of prime-age men who are not working. Covid-era policy, including unprecedented subsidies to those out of work, has exacerbated the challenge Eberstadt documented in 2016, prompting him to reissue a post-pandemic edition of his book.
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Jennifer Patterson is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Her work focuses on projects related to religious freedom and overcoming poverty, drawing on her more than 25 years of experience in public policy.