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Gone are the days when participation of male workforce hit at 98% for men ageing 25 to 54 years old. These days only 88% of this population is employed as shown in the recent study conducted by the White House.

Though the decline of male workforce has become obvious, its cause has always been debated on. For economists, they blame it to weak job opportunities as well as retirements of many baby boomers.  However, other unrecognized issues come into play. These are diversion and disability.

Diversion can be a common reason why men opted not to go out to work. Economist Erik Hurst claimed that men who are more interested to know the top projectors for gamers than the tabloid’s list of job openings are those who are left out when it comes to economic recovery. “These are men who did not go back to school or those who did not try switching occupations”, Erik said.

The average unemployed, low skilled men who play video games spend around 12-30 hours per week playing these games”, says Erik.  To him, this can be alarming and can have a major impact to these men’s attachment to the labor market. For Erik, it is clear that video gaming grab the young men’s attention which diverts their focus from work.

“Men ageing 21-30 years old who are not looking for work doubled the time they spend playing video games and reduce their TV viewing”, Erick stated. And though video gamers are seated at home the whole day, they still managed to have a lot of friends through social networks, enabling their desire to be satisfied with what they are doing.

Disability is another cause for unemployment. A result in a study conducted economist Alan Krueger of Princeton University showed that more unemployed men take pain medication compered to their employed counterpart.

“Almost half the number of men in their prime age who do not belong to the working force are taking some sort of pain medications daily and two third of them have prescription of pain meds”, Krueger said. “Eighty eight percent of non-working men reported to be in pain and four out of ten of them claimed that the pain prevents them from applying to the work that they are actually qualified”, he added.

Since all unemployment causes won’t just go away, something has to be done to address them accordingly. To Erick, it might help to delay retirement and offer workers more flexibility and leave time. Major immigration reforms can be helpful and effective pain intervention can make a lot of difference.