The Times is running a periodic series on the effect of the women's movement. Evidently one of the effects is that a lot of men in their prime have just stopped working!
Men Not Working, and Not Wanting Just Any Job - New York Times (As always, you need to register to access NYT articles online. Registration is free and easy. More importantly, free access to NYT articles is only for one week. After that you have to pay. Anyone who comes across this article after a week and wants the text can email me or leave a comment. I have archived a copy of the text and can email it to you.)
For a significant percentage of men, once they get laid off, that's it. And of course men not pursing jobs are not counted on the rolls of the unemployed.
So instead of heading to work, Mr. Beggerow, now 53, fills his days with diversions: playing the piano, reading histories and biographies, writing unpublished Western potboilers in the Louis L’Amour style — all activities once relegated to spare time. He often stays up late and sleeps until 11 a.m.
“I have come to realize that my free time is worth a lot to me,” he said. To make ends meet, he has tapped the equity in his home through a $30,000 second mortgage, and he is drawing down the family’s savings, at the rate of $7,500 a year. About $60,000 is left. His wife’s income helps them scrape by. “If things really get tight,” Mr. Beggerow said, “I might have to take a low-wage job, but I don’t want to do that.”
Millions of men like Mr. Beggerow — men in the prime of their lives, between 30 and 55 — have dropped out of regular work. They are turning down jobs they think beneath them or are unable to find work for which they are qualified, even as an expanding economy offers opportunities to work.
About 13 percent of American men in this age group are not working, up from 5 percent in the late 1960’s. The difference represents 4 million men who would be working today if the employment rate had remained where it was in the 1950’s and 60’s.