The next time someone your parents’ ages tries to tell you you’re from the laziest generation yet, try not to get too defensive… They might actually have a point. According to research done by a few prominent economists, a significant amount of millennial men are totally fine with being unemployed.
A study done in 2015 concluded that, of all men aged 21 to 30 in the US who weren’t currently in school, 14.3 percent spent the entire year working zero hours. This compares to a study done more than a decade ago, when only eight percent of men reported not working for a whole year.
“This kind of decline is staggering and, historically, unprecedented,” stated macro-economist Erik Hurst. “It’s larger than for all other sex, age and skill groups during this same period.”
Typically, men of this age group are actively trying to find a job and, you know, enter adulthood. But Hurst says jobs are taking a back seat to video games these days.
He analyzed the data found in the US Bureau of Statistics’ “American Time Use Survey” and discovered that, from the beginning of the century to 2015, twenty-something men without bachelor’s degrees spent about four more hours per week on leisure time; of those four hours, over half were spent playing video games. Moreover, 25 percent of men reportedly gamed for at least three hours a day and a very dedicated 10 percent spent up to six hours per day gaming.
While these findings aren’t that shocking, the fact that these guys claimed to have higher levels of life satisfaction sort of is. By 2015, 88 percent of unemployed, less educated millennial men said they were “very happy” or “pretty happy.” Hurst said this is probably because they haven’t had to give up free food and rent-free living in mom and dad’s basement for some low-paid, low-benefit job…
Ultimately, video games account for 20 percent of the employment decline among millennial men over the last decade and half. As Hurst puts it: “The bulk of the reason for declining employment is not video games, but it explains a non-trivial chunk.”
Don’t worry if you can identify with this all too well, though. The study also found that video games can have a positive effect on millennials’ livelihoods, intelligence and self-esteem when they aren’t played excessively. Game on.