Job losses in the manufacturing market have had an impact on American workers. According to CNN, the United States has lost nearly 5 million manufacturing jobs since 2000.
The impact has shaken and challenged families over the last 17 years, but new research shows that a lack of job prospects has created a new environment where marriages and families never start. The problem is that when the work disappears, the market value for men, as a marriage prospect, leaves with it.
A new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research takes a look at the two big shifts in the last 30 years that have changed the structure of marriage and child-rearing in the U.S. We are experiencing a steep decline in marriage among millennials, and a sharp rise in the amount of children born to unmarried mothers, and living in single parent homes.
According to the researchers from MIT, UC-San Diego, and the University of Zurich, declining labor-market opportunities for men is a potential contributor to both problems. The slumping labor market has a particular impact on men because the manufacturing industry employs a disproportionate amount of men.
According to the researchers, when jobs are lost to trade and automation (among other factors) men are more likely to make less money, leave to find work elsewhere (or join the military), and participate in risky and damaging behavior, such as drug and alcohol abuse. All of these behaviors make a person less marriageable.
They even found a correlation between a poor job market and a reduction in fertility.
It turns out that men need better prospects in order to be better prospects.