Dropping out of the job market?

There is a story from the NY Times talking about a growing segment of the American population doing exactly that. Of note:

People use the unemployment rate as some kind of gauge of the health of the economy,” said Robert H. Topel, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago. But because of the number of people now outside of the labor force, he said, the unemployment rate does not give you the same kind of information it did in the 1970’s or 1960’s.”

(A little disappointed in the Times–you do not put an apostrophe-s after a year to state a decade; just put the s after the year, as in, 1970s.) The real gem, though, has to be this:

I’ve been trying to find a conventional job for two years,” Ms. Leftridge said. Finally, I’m thinking about doing a home-based business. I don’t see it as giving up. I see it as expanding my search. I ought to be able to make some money this way, and start building back my savings, in a situation where I’m not hostage to any company’s budget, to any budget.”

Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking if I get laid off. Better to be the hostage-taker than the hostage. Or something like that.

May 1, 2003