Stories

Why you should be depressed

Rick Bowmer / AP

David Brooks' latest column cites a Commentary magazine article and a Tyler Cowen book to point a finger at the foundation of our 21st century problems: declining economic growth.

  • Slowing GDP: Between 1948 and 2000, the U.S. economy grew at a per-capita rate of about 2.3% a year. But from 2000 on per-capita growth has averaged less than 1%.
  • Fewer hours of paid work: Between 1985 and 2000, the total hours of paid work increased by 35%. Over the next 15 years, they increased by only 4%.
  • Declining employment: For every American man aged 25-55 looking for employment, 3 have dropped out of the labor force.
  • More screen-time: Labor-force dropouts spend on average 2,000 hours a year watching some sort of screen.
  • Increased drug use: About 50% of men who have dropped out take pain medication on a daily basis.