Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. This picture may qualify.
Since 2009, the number of folks claiming disability has grown 19%. The average monthly disability payment in 2013 was $1,130. Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate continues to decline. During the same time frame, the labor force participation rate has fallen -3.3%. I plotted the two data sets on one chart, and it’s quite telling:
Would it be completely unreasonable to say that many capable but chronically unemployed folks have abandoned looking for work and joined the disability rolls?