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These Days Young Men In America Are Working A Lot Less And Playing Video Games A Lot More July 10, 2017

If you could stay home and play video games all day, would you do it?  According to a brand new report that was released by the National Bureau of Economic Research on Monday, American men from the ages of 21 to 30 are working a lot less these days.  In fact, on average men in this age group worked 203 fewer hours per year in 2015 than they did in 2000.  So what did they do with all of that extra time?  According to the study, a large portion of the time that young men used to spend working is now being spent playing video games.

It is certainly no secret that young men like video games.  But the study found that in recent years the amount of time young men dedicate to gaming has shot up dramatically

Comparing data from the American Time Use Survey (ATUS) for recent years (2012-2015) to eight years prior (2004-2007), we see that: (a) the drop in market hours for young men was mirrored by a roughly equivalent increase in leisure hours, and (b) increased time spent in gaming and computer leisure for younger men, 99 hours per year, comprises three quarters of that increase in leisure. Younger men increased their recreational computer use and video gaming by nearly 50 percent over this short period. Non-employed young men now average 520 hours a year in recreational computer time, sixty percent of that spent playing video games. This exceeds their time spent on home production or non-computer related socializing with friends.

Those are some absolutely staggering numbers.

But how can these young men get away with spending so much time playing video games?  After all, don’t they have bills to pay?

Well, some of them do, but a lot of them are still living at home with Mom and Dad.  According to this new report, a whopping 35 percent of young men “are living at home with their parents or a close relative”

Men ages 21 to 30 years old worked 12 percent fewer hours in 2015 than they did in 2000, the economists found. Around 15 percent of young men worked zero weeks in 2015, a rate nearly double that of 2000.

Since 2004, young men have increasingly allocated more of their free time to playing video games and other computer-related activities, according to the study. Thirty-five percent of young men are living at home with their parents or a close relative, up 12 percent since 2000.

This phenomenon is known as “extended adolescence”, and it is becoming a major societal problem.

In the old days, most young men in their twenties would be working hard, starting families and becoming solid members of their communities.

But these days, way too many young men are living in the basement with Mom and Dad and spending endless hours playing video games.

So what is going to happen when older generations of Americans start dying off and these guys are forced to become “the leaders of tomorrow”?

I love baseball, and one of the things that you learn when you follow baseball is that hitters tend to peak around the age of 27.  Of course there are plenty of exceptions to this rule, but on average there is something very special about the age of 27.

The reason I bring this up is to show that in many ways men from the ages of 21 to 30 are in their prime years.  If they are wasting those years playing video games, that is not a good thing for our society.

And of course this isn’t the first survey to find that so many young men are still living with their parents.  Not too long ago, a Census Bureau report discovered that one out of every three 18 to 34-year-old Americans is still living at home

According to the Changing Economics and Demographics of Young Adulthood report for 2016, one in three Americans ages 18 to 34 are living at home with their parents.

Coming in second place is living with a spouse (27 percent), followed by other (i.e. living with a roommate or other relatives, 21 percent), living with a boyfriend or girlfriend (12 percent) and living alone (8 percent).

The fact that only 27 percent of them are “living with a spouse” is particularly noteworthy.  As I noted in a previous article, that number has fallen by more than half since 1975…

Did you know that the percentage of 18 to 34-year-old Americans that are married and living with a spouse has dropped by more than half since 1975?  Back then, 57 percent of everyone in that age group “lived with a spouse”, but today that number has dropped to just 27 percent.

I have a new book coming out later this month, and in that book I am going to talk about some of the reasons why so few of our young people are getting married these days.  Our culture tends to glamorize the “single lifestyle”, and it also tends to portray marriage as a “ball and chain” that needs to be put off for as long as possible.  But studies have shown that married men tend to be happier, they tend to make more money, and they tend to live longer.

However, it is undeniably true that it can be very tough to start a family in today’s economic environment.  The middle class is steadily shrinking, and millions of young people are working jobs that pay close to the minimum wage.  So when you are barely scraping by, it can be quite intimidating to think about taking on all of the expenses that come with raising a child.

But as so many of us have learned, there never is a “perfect time” to have a child.  Many of our parents really had to struggle to survive when we were young, and there is nothing wrong with that.

There is nothing that can replace the joy that family can bring, and we need to encourage our young people to embrace marriage and parenthood.  The family is one of the fundamental building blocks of society, and without strong families there is no way that our country is going to have any sort of a positive future.

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These Are the Jobs That Will Survive the Next Wave of Automation June 30, 2017

Every time our country enters a recession, it seems like another piece of the middle class is eroded away, and never returns. There are widespread layoffs and pay cuts, but when the economy recovers, we don’t have as many well-paying jobs as we had before. There are probably multiple reasons for this, most notably the outsourcing of jobs. However, there’s one reason that most people don’t want to consider because there’s no one to blame for it.

Many jobs don’t come back after a recession, because of automation. When money is tight during a recession, there’s more incentive for companies to automate parts of their workforce. Every economic calamity sows the seeds for a new wave of computer automation and labor-saving inventions; and after the recession has passed, a certain percentage of the population gets left behind. For whatever reason, they fail to learn new skills that will help them adapt to the new economy, so they are either left jobless or are stuck working low paying jobs that may not survive the next recession.

And make no mistake, this is going to keep happening at a rapid pace for at least the next generation or two. By some estimates, half of the jobs we have now may be automated over the next few decades, and it’s not exactly clear how many of those jobs will be replaced.

There’s only one thing you can do to guarantee that you’ll thrive in this future. You have to learn skills that can’t be automated. And when you look at the kinds of careers that are difficult to automate, you’ll find that most of them fall into a handful of categories.

Advanced STEM Careers

These are the biologists, the physicists, the statisticians, the engineers, etc. Just about anyone who attains anything higher than a bachelor’s degree in a STEM related field, is probably going to have a job for the foreseeable future. Though computers will certainly have some impact on these fields, the people who are in them are among the smartest in the world. Unless someone builds a computer that is more intelligent than any human (which isn’t guaranteed), these jobs aren’t going anywhere.

Careers That Guide Automation

If you can’t beat em, you can always join em. One of the best ways insulate yourself from automation, is to find a job that involves creating, running, or maintaining the machines. Think mechanics, computer programmers, and mechanical engineers. While the smartest people in our society are going to occupy the advanced STEM fields, the average Joe’s are going to dominate these jobs, because they don’t require nearly as much education. These are jobs that usually either require a 4-year degree or lengthy on-the-job training. They will probably be the last bastion of high-paying middle-class jobs.

Careers That Revolve Around Human Behavior

One of the biggest obstacles for a computer is interpreting human behavior, and making use of that information. Computers are really just glorified calculators, so despite how advanced they’ve become, they’re about as good at comprehending humans as we are at comprehending God.

So any job that involves sophisticated interaction with humans is probably safe from automation. And fortunately, there are a ton of jobs like this. It includes doctors, nurses, teachers, physical and mental therapists, salesman and marketers, public relations experts, clergymen, etc. Wherever there are people with uniquely human problems and aspirations, there are jobs that a computer can’t touch.

Craftsmen and Artisans

I’m using these terms loosely to describe more than just people who make products with their hands. What I’m about to describe is a unique category of jobs that survive every labor-saving invention, long after they’ve been technically rendered obsolete.

Think about everyone who runs a successful store on Etsy. Most of the stuff they sell aren’t crucial to the modern economy, but there’s still a demand for them. People don’t need highly ornate, handcrafted products. They could probably buy a far cheaper equivalent on Amazon, but they choose to buy handcrafted products because they’re special. Things that come off of an assembly line are practical, but humans have a need for products and services that have a human touch. We have a love of things that are well crafted, but imperfect. And since automation tends to introduce more wealth into society, there will be more demand for these luxuries.

And like I said, it’s not just jobs that involve making things. Any field that can be automated, will have a few holdouts that never die. How much do you want to bet that many years after driverless cars eliminate all of the truck drivers, cab drivers, and delivery jobs, there will still be people you can pay to drive you around town. If you don’t believe me, then consider the companies that still offer horse-drawn carriage rides in New York City, a century after cars made these carriages obsolete.

There is only one caveat with these kinds of jobs. If you decide to enter an obsolete field, you have to be the best at it. The only people who make money with these jobs are the people who offer the highest quality products and services. The runner-ups make a pittance, and everyone else is taking a loss. But if you do put in the effort to be among the best, you can make a lot of money in these jobs.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Originally published June 30th, 2017
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2017 Is Going To Be The Worst Retail Apocalypse In U.S. History – More Than 300 Retailers Have Already Filed For Bankruptcy June 13, 2017

Not even during the worst parts of the last recession did things ever get this bad for the U.S. retail industry.  As you will see in this article, more than 300 retailers have already filed for bankruptcy in 2017, and it is being projected that a staggering 8,640 stores will close in America by the end of this calendar year.  That would shatter the old record by more than 20 percent.  Sadly, our ongoing retail apocalypse appears to only be in the early chapters.  One report recently estimated that up to 25 percent of all shopping malls in the country could shut down by 2022 due to the current woes of the retail industry.  And if the new financial crisis that is already hitting Europe starts spreading over here, the numbers that I just shared with you could ultimately turn out to be a whole lot worse.

I knew that a lot of retailers were filing for bankruptcy, but I had no idea that the grand total for this year was already in the hundreds.  According to CNN, the number of retail bankruptcies is now up 31 percent compared to the same time period last year…

Bankruptcies continue to pile up in the retail industry.

More than 300 retailers have filed for bankruptcy so far this year, according to data from BankruptcyData.com. That’s up 31% from the same time last year. Most of those filings were for small companies — the proverbial Mom & Pop store with a single location. But there are also plenty of household names on the list.

Yes, the growth of online retailers such as Amazon is fueling some of this, but the Internet has been around for several decades now.

So why are retail store closings and retail bankruptcies surging so dramatically all of a sudden?

Just a few days ago, another major victim of the retail apocalypse made headlines all over the nation when it filed for bankruptcy.  At one time Gymboree was absolutely thriving, but now it is in a desperate fight to survive

Children’s clothing chain Gymboree has filed for bankruptcy protection, aiming to slash its debts and close hundreds of stores amid crushing pressure on retailers.

Gymboree said it plans to remain in business but will close 375 to 450 of its 1,281 stores in filing for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. Gymboree employs more than 11,000 people, including 10,500 hourly workers.

And in recent weeks other major retailers that were once very prosperous have also been forced to close stores and lay off staff

This hemorrhaging of retail jobs comes on the heels of last week’s mass layoffs at Hudson Bay Company, where employees from Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor were among the 2,000 people laid off. The news of HBC layoffs came on the same day that Ascena, the parent company of brands like Ann Taylor, Lane Bryant, and Dress Barn, told investors it will be closing up to 650 stores (although it did not specify which brands will be affected just yet). Only two weeks ago, affordable luxury brand Michael Kors announced it too would close 125 stores to combat brand overexposure and plummeting sales.

In a lot of ways this reminds me of 2007.  The stock market was still performing very well, but the real economy was starting to come apart at the seams.

And without a doubt, the real economy is really hurting right now.  According to Business Insider, Moody’s is warning that 22 more major retailers may be forced to declare bankruptcy in the very near future…

Twenty-two retailers in Moody’s portfolio are in serious financial trouble that could lead to bankruptcy, according to a Moody’s note published on Wednesday. That’s 16% of the 148 companies in the financial firm’s retail group — eclipsing the level of seriously distressed retail companies that Moody’s reported during the Great Recession.

You can find the full list right here.  If this many major retailers are “distressed” now, what are things going to look like once the financial markets start crashing?

As thousands of stores close down all across the United States, this is going to put an incredible amount of stress on shopping mall owners.  In order to meet their financial obligations, those mall owners need tenants, but now the number of potential tenants is shrinking rapidly.

I have talked about dead malls before, but apparently what we have seen so far is nothing compared to what is coming.  The following comes from CNN

Store closings and even dead malls are nothing new, but things might be about to get a whole lot worse.

Between 20% and 25% of American malls will close within five years, according to a new report out this week from Credit Suisse. That kind of plunge would be unprecedented in the nation’s history.

I can’t even imagine what this country is going to look like if a quarter of our shopping malls shut down within the next five years.  Already, there are some parts of the U.S. that look like a third world nation.

And what is this going to do to employment?  Today, the retail industry employs millions upon millions of Americans, and those jobs could start disappearing very rapidly

The retail sales associate is one of the most popular jobs in the country, with roughly 4.5 million Americans filling the occupation. In May, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics released data that found that 7.5 million retail jobs might be replaced by technology. The World Economic Forum predicts 30 to 50 percent of retail jobs will be gone once struggling companies like Gymboree fully hop on the digital train. MarketWatch found that over the last year, the department store space bled 29,900 jobs, while general merchandising stores cut 15,700 positions. At this rate, one Florida columnist put it soberingly, “Half of all US retail jobs could vanish. Just as ATMs replaced many bank tellers, automated check-out stations are supplanting retail clerks.”

At this moment, the number of working age Americans that do not have a job is hovering near a record high.  So being able to at least get a job in the retail industry has been a real lifeline for many Americans, and now that lifeline may be in grave danger.

For those running our big corporations, losing these kinds of jobs is not a big deal.  In fact, many corporate executives would be quite happy to replace all of their U.S. employees with technology or with foreign workers.

But if the middle class is going to survive, we need an economy that produces good paying jobs.  Unfortunately, even poor paying retail jobs are starting to disappear now, and the future of the middle class is looking bleaker than it ever has before.

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