BLS Reports One in Five Families Has No One Working

By:  Bob Adelmann
04/29/2014
       
BLS Reports One in Five Families Has No One Working

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that 20 percent of American families have no working members — adding to the already disturbing news about the financial shape of families.

In its awkward but astonishing revelation, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported on Friday that “of the nation’s 80.4 million families, 80.0 percent had at least one employed member in 2013.” Translation: 20 percent of those families had no one working in 2013!

How is that possible? The BLS defines a family as “a group of two or more persons residing together who are related by birth, marriage or adoption.” It further defines “employed” as anyone who:

1. Did any work at all as a paid employee;

2. Worked in their own business, profession or on their own farm; or

3. Worked 15 hours or more as an unpaid worker in an enterprise operated by another member of the family.

In one out of five households in America, then, according to the BLS, not one single soul lifted one single finger in any measurable way during the entire year of 2013 to help sustain his family.

The fading away into oblivion of the American family has recently been measured in other ways, but none in so obvious a fashion. For instance, just last month the Census Bureau and the BLS joined together to report that there are 60 million more Americans taking welfare benefits than American workers providing them.

There’s the revelation from the BLS that out of 10 Americans of working age, fewer than six of them are actually working. There’s the further confirmation that the 80-plus welfare programs operated by the federal government are eating up nearly 70 percent of the federal budget. There’s the confirmation provided by the Heritage Foundation — called its Index of Dependence on Government — which showed that dependence upon federal largesse increased by one-sixth just since 2009, and has increased more than 20 times since the index was first published in 1962.

There’s the evidence provided by SNAP — the renamed Food Stamp program administered by the Department of Agriculture — that 23 million American households (along with a record number of individuals) are receiving food welfare, pushing its budget to an all-time high.

There’s further evidence from the Census Bureau that home ownership rates are continuing to slide as fewer and fewer people can afford to buy them, dropping from nearly 70 percent in 2004 to 65 percent last year, with little expectation of a reversal in that trend.

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