Nearly 80,000 working-age men have disappeared from the labour force

According to an analysis by the Helisnki-based EVA think tank, tens of thousands of men of working age have "disappeared" from the labour market either not looking for jobs or unlikely to ever find jobs.

Rukkaset roska-astian päällä.
Image: Katja Salminen/ Yle

The EVA study says that there are over 50,000 men who should be in their best working years (25–54) who do not have jobs and who are not actively seeking jobs. This does not include men who are studying or who are on disability pensions.

The authors of the labour market analysis refer to this group as "the lost workmen". In statistics, they fall under the category of "others not in the workforce".

In addition, there are over 28,000 unemployed men in the same age group who are looking for jobs, but are unlikely to ever return to the workforce.

Even while unemployment levels decline, the numbers of lost workmen have grown steadily over the past few years.

Most gone for ever

One factor common to most men in these groups is that most will probably never work again, say the analysts. It may be indicative of how divorced they have become from the job market that only about a third have even registered as unemployed.

The analysis also raised the question as to how these men survive financially. A third could not be found in any incomes registry, not even welfare payments. Some had been receiving unemployment benefits, but their period of eligibility had run out by the end of the year. Some were receiving housing supports or student benefits.

Around 14% did have some work income, most likely from occasional odd jobs.

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