Retailers are optimistic about back-to-school sales because the job market has been strengthening and gas prices have been falling. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Lynn Eldredge works as a facilities manager for several fast-food restaurants in Utah. At 50, he has no benefits and no retirement savings. Courtesy of Lynn Eldredge hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Lynn Eldredge

It was a great time to be an American man in the workplace after World War II. Hiring was strong for both white-collar jobs and factory work while industries like autos, aviation and steel were booming. By the 1960s, that started to change. Three Lions/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Three Lions/Getty Images