What Happens To Our Economy As Millions Of People Lose The Habits Of Hard Work?

If we’re going to dig our way of what lies ahead, we need people who can work hard and start/operate new businesses.

Simply put, job growth is not keeping pace with population growth–specifically, the growth of the labor force which is generally defined as the population between the ages of 18 and 64.

So what happens to the economy as millions of people never acquire the habits of hard work or lose them due to chronic joblessness?

Yesterday I presented data on not in the labor force, which is defined as “persons aged 16 years and older in the civilian non-institutional population who are neither employed nor unemployed.”

The federal government reckons about 95 million people are not in the labor force. But this doesn’t necessarily tell us whether these people could take a job or not.

To get some sense of what this means, let’s look at the U.S. population in basic terms. The U.S. Census reckons there are about 322 million residents of the U.S.

About 74 million are under the age of 18, and about 42 million are retired (i.e. receiving Social Security benefits) and almost 11 million receive Social Security disability benefits.

About 2.4 million people are in prison.

Roughly 1.4 million are in active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces.

That totals about 130 million people who aren’t in the civilian labor force, with some caveats: workers can draw Social Security benefits and still earn a wages, for example.

That leaves about 192 million people as a base labor force. Out of this total, we need to subtract mentally disabled people who are not institutionalized or drawing Social Security disability benefits (unfortunately, many are homeless or in prison.)

We also need to subtract those who are earning money in the cash economy but not reporting their income–i.e. those who are employed but not showing up as employed in the data.

Then there are people who are raising children, home-schooling their children, etc. as full-time work.

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Author: Travis Esquivel

Travis Esquivel is an engineer, passionate soccer player and full-time dad. He enjoys writing about innovation and technology from time to time.

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