Evan Thomas: 'White Men Dropping Out of the Workforce' - 'Not Doing Anything, Going Hunting, Fishing'

Former Newsweek editor Evan Thomas made a bizarre statement on PBS's Inside Washington Friday.

"Unexplored story of the year: white men dropping out - dropping out of the workforce, dropping out of elections, just plain dropping out, getting social security, not doing anything, going hunting, fishing, just not in the game" (video follows with transcript and commentary, file photo):

EVAN THOMAS: Unexplored story of the year: white men dropping out - dropping out of the workforce, dropping out of elections, just plain dropping out, getting social security, not doing anything, going hunting, fishing, just not in the game.

COLBY KING, WASHINGTON POST: I remember earlier in the year, you said the wild card was angry white men. What happened to them?

THOMAS: That's what I'm talking about. They dropped out. They, you look, as a percentage of the workforce, they’re dropping down. They’re more and more on benefits, more and more not voting, just dropping out.

I'm not sure what statistics Thomas was relying on to make such a claim concerning the workforce. Here are the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics' total labor force participation figures:

Labor force participation has dropped by 2.2 percent across all demographics in the past four years to 63.6 percent.

Here's white men 20 and over:

As you can see, the labor force participation rate for this demographic has declined, but not significantly more than the rest of the population - only one half of one percent more.


As for white women 20 and over:

The labor force participation rate for white women dropped by 2.1 percent in the past four years, right in line with the total population.

As for black men 20 and over:

Labor force participation amongst black men has dropped by 3.3 percent in the past four years - 1.1 percent higher than the entire population.

As for black women 20 and over:

Labor force participation amongst black women has dropped by 2.1 percent in the past four years, right in line with the total population.

As such, the biggest decline in this statistic has come from black men not white men who continue to by far represent the largest chunk of the labor force with a participation rate of 73.2 percent.

With this in mind, Thomas might want to rethink his bizarre conclusion.

Post facto statistical follow-up:

The actual four-year labor force participation decline for the entire population is 3.34 percent (2.2 delta divided by November '08's 65.8 rate).

For white men it's 3.55 percent (2.7 divided by 75.9).

For white women it's 3.47 percent (2.1 divided by 60.5).

For black men it's 4.68 percent (3.3 divided by 70.4)

For black women it's 3.26 percent (2.1 divided by 64.5).

As such, white men have dropped out of the labor force at an insignificantly faster rate rate than the rest of the population and at almost the same rate as white women.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.