Here’s a look at people from their mid-20s to mid-50s, and the reasons they gave for not being in the labor force in 1999 and 2014. The biggest shift
has been the share of Americans who don’t work because they’re disabled or ill—this has risen among every age group, in some cases pretty sharply. In
1999, 8% of those in their early 50s cited disability. In 2014, it was 11%. This gets relatively little attention among economists, despite accounting
for the biggest shift.