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Second Great Depression: 25 percent of Americans between 25 and 54 currently not working


(NaturalNews) The talking heads on the television can bumble all they want about the economy improving, but the latest labor statistics sing a much different tune. According to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), roughly one-quarter of the American working-age population is currently unemployed, a figure that matches the unemployment rate during the Great Depression.

Extrapolated into a chart created by the Senate Budget Committee, the figures show that nearly 30 million Americans between the ages of 25 and 54 are currently not working -- not because they aren't able, but because they simply cannot find work. This translates into one in four of America's most eligible workers sitting at home all day, or on the government dole.

"There are 124.5 million Americans in their prime working years (ages 25-54). Nearly one-quarter of this group--28.9 million people, or 23.2 percent of the total--is not currently employed. They either became so discouraged that they left the labor force entirely, or they are in the labor force but unemployed," wrote the committee.

"This group of non-employed individuals is more than 3.5 million larger than before the recession began in 2007."

Workplace participation hasn't been this bad in 40 years

Though data of this type wasn't tracked back in the early 1930s during the Great Depression, figures compiled by BLS in the following decade show a similar one-in-four unemployment rate. It was estimated that nearly 13 million people were without a job in 1933, which represented about 25 percent of the over-51-million-people labor force.

"There is no doubt that 1933 was the worst year, and March the worst month for joblessness in the history of the United States," explains the Department of Labor (DOL) in a historical account of Americans in depression and war.

Though the current unemployment rate within this same age group is just shy of 25 percent, the Senate Budget Committee notes that workplace participation is nearing a four-decade low. Partisan attempts to blame an aging population for this decline are patently false, says the committee, and more older people who should be in retirement are actually now working, further illustrating the true state of our nation's economy.

"Those attempting to minimize the startling figures about America's vanishing workforce... will say an aging population is to blame," said the Senate Budget Committee.

"But in fact, while the workforce overall has shrunk nearly 10 million since 2009, the cohort of workers in the labor force ages 55 to 64 has actually increased over that same period, with many delaying retirement due to poor economic conditions."

More than 66 percent of workforce 'dropouts' are under age 55

At the same time, the vast majority of those who are currently unemployed, and who dropped out of the workforce in recent years due to lack of work, are under the age of 55. This proves that the cause of poor workplace participation isn't retirement, but rather the continual decay of the American economy.

"[O]ver two-thirds of all labor force dropouts since that time have been under the age of 55," added the committee. "These statistics illustrate that the problems in the American economy are deep, profound, and pervasive, afflicting the sector of the labor force that should be among the most productive."

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