That the national unemployment rate has hit a 17 year low and that minorities have made big employment gains is laudable and important.

But there is a bigger issue. We need to dramatically improve our labor participation rate.

A good first step would be a simple and sincere request. The President should make a national plea:

We know you have been discouraged by the job market in the past, but our economy is growing and we need you back. We can’t do it without you.

There is already a Ticket to Work program to help people receiving disability payments get back to work.

Yes, this is important for the United States, but it is even more important for Americans whose souls were crushed by jobs lost overseas, corporate downsizing and disruptive technological change.

According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists work gives you:

  • social contacts and support
  • a way of structuring and occupying time
  • physical and mental activity
  • an opportunity to develop and use skills
  • social status
  • a sense of identity and personal achievement
  • money and other resources needed for material well-being.

Don’t they deserve it?