A Silver Lining to Unemployment?

(Photo: NCinDC)

(Photo: NCinDC)

Friday’s labor-force data brought liberal outcries, and a comment from Ben Bernanke, that the drop in labor-force participation indicates unemployment is really much higher, and the economy in worse shape, than the 7.3 percent unemployment rate might indicate.  It is true that participation for men is at a postwar low and has decreased by 3-1/2 percentage points since the 2007 cyclical peak; and women’s participation stopped rising in 1999 and has fallen by 2 percentage points since the peak.

Is this so bad? Yes, if labor-force leavers are desperate to work and just get discouraged.  But perhaps no; perhaps it has taken the Great Recession to get Americans to realize that we shouldn’t be working harder than people in other rich countries and should be enjoying more leisure.  If this is so, perhaps there’s a silver lining in what so many people view as the economic doldrums of the last three years.


Zekey

This is the dumbest post I've read in a long time. First, it's just really so far from what is actually occurring - people want jobs and can't get them ... so they have not just more leisure, but 100% leisure, which they don't want and isn't helpful. Second, the author displays the fundamental problem with much Progressive thinking ... that is, that he knows what is best for someone else.

Libra

Wow! Could Daniel be any less connected to the real world?? It's amazing the 100% pure spin he puts into every post to support his politics. Suffice to say, with iron-clad tenure, no chance of job loss, and time to tour Europe on sabbatical or "visiting professorship" or whatever, his only complaint lately is that universities don't have even MORE money to waste. Wow. Just astounding.

GenkiDama

On the contrary, I think it took the Great Recession to get American companies to realize that they can do just as much, or more with less employees....

How can you enjoy leisure when you are unemployed? Money buys freedom. Without freedom, I don't see much leisure.