According to the Labor Department, the number of unemployed workers rose by 251,000 in November. But the number of people who were outside of the labor force — that is, neither working nor looking for work — rose by much more: 637,000. These people aren’t counted as unemployed in the government’s statistics, because they are not looking for work. Many of them, presumably, have stopped looking for work because they didn’t think they could find a good job.
If you take a broader measure — one that tries to account for them — you see a darker picture of the labor market. The share of all men ages 16 and over who are working is now at its lowest level since the government began keeping statistics in the 1940s. The share of women with jobs has fallen almost two percentage points from the peak it reached in 2000; at no other point in the past 50 years has the share of employed women has fallen so much from its peak.
More here. Because we are living in this moment it is difficult for us to really understand what we are witnessing. There is no real return from this point. Re-imagining is what is required.