“Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe explained to podcast host Megyn Kelly that there’s “7 million able-bodied men” who aren’t looking for work, saying that the issue was tied to a “will gap” rather than a “skills gap” since too many individuals appear to be addicted to their screens.
During his recent appearance on Sirius XM’s “The Megyn Kelly Show” podcast, the host asked Rowe why he believed that millions of men in America between the ages of 25 and 4 aren’t just unemployed, but they aren’t even looking for a job. Rowe said that the issue isn’t tied to a single reason, but multiple, and listed what he believed led to this “lopsided” workforce in America, calling it “troubling.”
He believes it’s not a matter of “labor disputes” when it comes to the lack of blue-collar workers, but instead began with the removal of shop classes in the 70s and 80s from high school. “It’s not a coincidence today that those vocations are the very jobs currently lacking in the market,” he explained. Combined with the push around the same time for more individuals to pursue higher education, he believes “we b****ed it all up.”
“To talk about the existence of 11 million jobs that virtually nobody wants juxtaposed with 7 million able-bodied men between the ages of 25-54 who are not only not working, that’s not the problem,” Rowe said. “They are affirmatively not looking for jobs. So you push all of that together, it really does make for a very disappointing kind of bouillabaisse.”
“College needed a PR campaign back in the 70s and 80s,” he added. “We genuinely needed more people to go in pursuit of some of this thing we call higher education. But we b****ed it all up. We didn’t just make the case for a four year school. We made the case at the expense of all other forms of education.”
“So, now there’s stigmas and stereotypes … all kinds of bull crap that keeps people from pursuing many of these 11 million open jobs right now that paradoxically are the very jobs that make civilized life for the rest of us,” the “Dirty Jobs” host continued.
Kelly pressed further about why seven million guys are just “sitting on the sidelines,” leading Rowe to reveal that he wasn’t sure if it was a “skills gap” anymore but a “will gap.”
“What the research indicates … a majority of that cohort of people we’re describing right now, these men, spend between 2,000 to 2,400 hours a year on screens,” the TV host shared. “That’s what they’re doing. Now the average work week extrapolated over a year is 2,080 hours. That’s their full-time job. They’re on their screens.”
“There’s something else going on in the country,” he added. “It’s unpleasant. It’s troubling. It’s important. And we have to talk about it. We have to find a way to stop looking at the workforce in terms of people who are unemployed and see it instead through the lens of the numbers of people who have affirmatively chosen not to work.”