How Has the Percent of Working Men in the US Changed over Time?

The United States' percentage of 25- to 54-year-old men who work has declined by almost 15 percentage points since the early 1950s, leaving the U.S. with one of the smallest percentages of prime-age men who work, compared with the other G-7 countries. Though economic recession is partly responsible, other factors include increases in industries that require college graduates, such as healthcare and government jobs, as well as the automation of many manufacturing and agricultural jobs.

More facts about employment:

  • Women now account for more than 45 percent of the U.S. labor force, and women are expected to account for more than half of the growth in the job market between 2011 and 2020.

  • Men appear to be falling behind in terms of education as well. About 60 percent of bachelor's and master's degrees in the U.S. go to women, and those men who do get degrees tend to have lower grade-point averages and take longer to graduate than their female peers.

  • People without a high school degree are much more likely to be unemployed. About 35 percent of U.S. residents who don't have a high school diploma are unemployed, compared with about 10 percent of those who have a bachelor's degree. Only about 65 percent of men who attend high school in the U.S. actually graduate.
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