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1 in 6 Men in Prime Working Age Unable to Find Jobs

Image: 1 in 6 Men in Prime Working Age Unable to Find Jobs Job seekers line up to meet with recruiters during a recent Job Hunters Boot Camp in San Mateo, Calif.

By Courtney Coren   |   Thursday, 06 Feb 2014 11:00 AM

One in six men in their prime working years are unemployed, partially due to technology and globalization and partially due to an economy that is slow to recover after going through the worst recession in 75 years.

That makes for a total of 10.4 million men between the ages of 25 to 54 who are out of work, at the time of life in which workers should be building a solid career and typically have their greatest earning power, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Editor's Note: Ordinary Guy Makes Millions, Retires at 42 (See Photo)

While the jobless numbers fell to 6.7 percent in December, more than two-thirds of men in this age group say they are no longer looking for work, which means they aren't counted among the unemployed by the government.

According to the Journal, this is not a new phenomenon, but a growing trend. Six percent of men between the ages of 25 to 54 were unemployed in the 1970s. That number grew to 13 percent by the end of 2007 and peaked to almost 20 percent in 2009. By the end of 2013, that number was at 17 percent.

The slow return to pre-recession levels is baffling economists.

"It's looking worse and worse," said Robert Moffett of Johns Hopkins University. "It's unexpected."

Forty percent of unemployed men say they have been without work for more than six months, which also concerns policy makers and economists because, traditionally, the longer a worker goes without a job, the harder it gets to find one.

January's unemployment numbers are supposed to be released by the Labor Department Friday. While economists are expecting the government to report that the economy added 181,000 jobs, this is still considered half the number needed for unemployment to return to acceptable levels.

There is also a growing concern about the impact that Obamacare will have on the job market.

Newsmax reported Tuesday that the Congressional Budget Office projects that the new healthcare law will result in 2 million fewer full-time workers by 2017, as small businesses reduce hours to avoid having to offer health insurance to their workers.

"For years, Republicans have said that the president's healthcare law creates uncertainty for small businesses, hurts take-home pay, and makes it harder to invest in new workers," House Speaker John Boehner said. "The middle class is getting squeezed in this economy, and this CBO report confirms that Obamacare is making it worse."

Struggling unemployment numbers combined with Obamacare woes could also mean a tough road for Democrats in the midterm elections in November, as Republicans plan to tie Democrats to the ongoing problems and Democrats work to distance themselves from the president's signature healthcare law.

Editor's Note: Ordinary Guy Makes Millions, Retires at 42 (See Photo)

Related Stories:

Unemployment Rates Fall in 39 States as More Quit Job Hunt

Yellen Calls Economy and Job Market Still Subpar

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