Jul 5, 2017

Young American men can find work but prefer to play video games

Casey Rodgers/AP

Twenty-something men are working many fewer hours than they did a decade and a half ago, according to a new study, and the biggest reason is that they prefer to play video games.

Men aged 21-30 worked 12% fewer hours in 2015 than they did in 2000, according to the study, published Monday by the National Bureau of Economic Research, and about half the reason is the time they spend gaming.

Why it matters: The results suggest that reduced work for prime-age men is not just or even mostly because they can't find jobs or sufficient hours. It's that, rather than accept what is out there, they choose the contemporary equivalent of hanging out at the pool hall or the race track. In fact, in 2015, roughly 15% of young men worked zero weeks over the year, nearly double the rate in 2000.

Meaning in life: The NBER findings, originally flagged last year, say that the decline in work hours by men 21-30 almost exactly mirrored their time spent on leisure — mostly video gaming. In the New York Times, Jane McGonigal, a video game scholar, suggested that games offer this young cohort something lacking in available jobs — a meaning to life, specifically that "I'm trying to improve this skill, teammates are counting on me, and my online community is relying on me."

  • A lot more men in this age group are living with their parents or some other close relative -- 35% of them in 2015, compared with 23% in 2000.
  • But they are not unhappy or aimless, according to Erik Hurst, one of the paper's authors. Their attitude, he tells the Times, may be, "why not have a little fun in your 20s and work in your 80s?"

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 65,691 — Total deaths: 30,438 — Total recoveries: 139,263.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 119,748 — Total deaths: 1,991 — Total recoveries: 921.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump is considering a quarantine on New York, parts of New Jersey and Connecticut. He signed a $2 trillion stimulus bill to give businesses and U.S. workers financial relief.
  4. State updates: Alaska is latest state to issue a stay-at-home order — New York is trying to nearly triple its hospital capacity in less than a month and has moved its presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters that supported Trump's handling of the virus less than two weeks ago are now balking at his call for the U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. Hollywood: Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson have returned to U.S. after being treated for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Infant dies after testing positive for coronavirus in Chicago

Hospital staff working inside a COVID-19 screening tent in Chicago on March 26. Photo: Jim Vondruska/NurPhoto via Getty Images

An infant less than one year old died in Chicago, Illinois after testing positive for the novel coronavirus, the state health department said on Saturday.

Why it matters: The death would mark the first reported infant mortality from COVID-19 in the U.S. The fatality rate for the novel coronavirus in the U.S. is highest among those over 85 years old, per the CDC.

Trump weighs quarantine of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

President Trump said on Saturday he is considering a "short term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut — states that have already taken steps to quarantine residents and promote social distancing.

The big picture: With 112,000 people infected, the U.S. has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, exceeding China and Italy, per data from Johns Hopkins. A second wave of American cities, including Boston, Detroit, New Orleans and Philadelphia, are reporting influxes of cases.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health