Is the Recession Redefining American Masculinity?

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Economists consider workers between 25 and 54 to be in their prime, and though America follows the national unemployment figures each month, a better indicator of economic health is the percentage of 25- to 54-year-olds who are working. When it comes to America’s men, the figures aren’t good. Fewer prime-age men are working than at any point since 1948.

That means America’s workforce is going through a dramatic shift. And so is the definition of the family breadwinner.

Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute, explains what the depressed employment figures mean about America’s prime-age workforce. Aaron Traister, a columnist who writes about masculinity, explains how the recession has impacted America’s men. He’s writing a book on the topic.