The Disappearing Male Worker

Sep 03, 2013

Are men losing interest in work?

Male labor force participation rates in the United States have been in steady decline since at least 1950 while women’s labor market participation steadily rose before leveling off about a decade ago. Two recent analyses of U.S. Census data document this trend and offer some unexpected reasons why this shift is occurring.

Economists Stefania Albanesi and Ayşegül Şahin of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York analyzed U.S. Census data extending back four decades.  They found the labor force participation gap between men and women has closed dramatically since 1970 when only 43% of women but 80% of men 16 years and older were employed or looking for work.

The gap stood at about 12 percentage points (57.7% vs. 70.2%) in 2012 and is projected to narrow slightly over the next few decades as participation rates for both sexes slowly decline.

Read the full report on the Pew Research Center's website.
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