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Statistics Show Key Male Demographic Dropping Out of Workforce

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows an increase in the number of men aged 30-44 dropping out of the labor force. This age group's participation rate is less than it was before the pandemic. In February 2020, 90.2% of men in the 30-34 age range had jobs or were looking for work. That number has dropped to 89.8%. While some men are stepping out to care for their children, experts say many men are dropping out for other reasons. However, a representative of the Brookings Institution asserted economists are unsure what reasons are causing men in this age group to leave.

During the height of the pandemic, labor statistics showed a significant amount of women leaving the workforce because of family responsibilities. Without daycares and schools providing in-person care, women left their jobs. However, CNN reports that both men and women gained back those jobs. In recent months, more women in the 30-44 age range have joined the workforce. Collected data reflects more women are assuming management and senior management roles, including positions in male-dominated industries. One study shows the trend of men leaving seems to be predominantly men without college degrees, possibly because their wages continue to erode, falling 17% over a 40-year period. The erosion of status and wages may have impacted their incentive to work. In the same period, college-educated men's wages rose 20%. These changes seem to reflect the growing belief that the pandemic impacted how Americans want to work and what they are willing to do for work.