A large number of men who are still in their prime working years find themselves without jobs for extended periods, despite an improving economy, according to a piece in The Wall Street Journal.
The trend has been building for decades. The percentage of unemployed men 25 to 54 more than doubled between the early 1970s and 2007, from 6 percent to 13 percent, before jumping to 20 percent in the depths of the recession in 2009, according to the article.
(Read more: Economy's sticky problem: Older and jobless)
As of December 2013, 17 percent of men are not working. Of that group, about two-thirds are not looking for work, which excludes them from the government's official unemployment numbers.
Economists were alarmed to learn that 40 percent of those looking have been out of work for six months or more, according to the Journal. Some had expected employment figures to rebound to pre-recession levels, but the trend is actually getting worse.
For the entire piece from The Wall Street Journal, click here.