Economy Needs Married Men
Special Report - September 13, 2012
New research from the Marriage and Religious Research Institute (MARRI) examines the connection between marriage and jobs, concluding that men’s general shift away from marriage has decreased their participation in the workforce, thereby putting the United States “at risk of a depression.” In their September 11 report, “Non-Marriage Reduces U.S. Labor Participation: The Abandonment of Marriage Puts America at Risk of a Depression,” Drs. Henry Potrykus and Patrick Fagan found that “marital status strongly affects [men’s] employment status” across education level and occupation. Despite the finding that “married men are consistently more employed than single or cohabiting men,” the report also discovered that “the married state is consistently losing ground to singlehood and cohabitation.”
According to the report, “American labor participation for men has been dropping off since the 1960s.” However, there exists a ‘gap’ in participation between married and unmarried men. The combination of this “gap” and “the population shift towards non-marriage” accounts for about half of the labor participation drop over the last 50 years. Interestingly, the report went on to find that “this significant phenomenon is a large share of what is seen in depressions.”
The authors did compare the current recession to the recession of the early 1980s, finding that while both recessions saw similar employment responses among each marital status group, “the latest recession saw a further weakening of the overall workforce because the population that is married is smaller.” This finding coincides with the authors’ assertion that the “cultural-demographic drift away from marriage and into household structures that are less productive and less engaged in the economy will exacerbate” the risk of the United States falling into an economic depression.
As part of their findings, Potrykus and Fagan note that the withdrawal of adult men from the labor force “cannot be ascribed to globalization of the labor pool or purely to women entering the workforce.” Rather, they find that, “A large part of this decline can be immediately, causally associated with increasing trends in non-marriage, within and across occupation classes.”
The report also found that “married men earn more” than their single counterparts, in part “because their human capital is more developed.” Single men are also associated with lower-skilled labor at a much higher rate than married men. Interestingly, “labor patterns demonstrate that markets choose married men because they are, relative to all other groups, the most valuable.”
The Gold Standard - FNC - Winter 2012
Marriage and Economic Well-Being - FNC - Summer 2011
The Price of Family Fragmentation - FNC - July/August 2008
Why Families Matter - FNC - September/October 2007
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