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Economy in Brief

U.S. Unemployment: Age, Sex and Race Matter a Lot
by Tom Moeller  May 6, 2013

It's obvious that when it comes to most things, a person's age, sex and race matter. Within the Bureau of Labor Statistics Household Sector Survey, the differences are eye popping. To start, the April unemployment rate for women aged 25 years and older stood at 5.9%. That was in contrast to the rate for male teenagers which was 26.2%. Moreover, this difference pales in comparison to those by age and race. The high of the unemployment rate statistics was grabbed by young male blacks whose jobless rate stood at 44.7%.

Unemployment categorized by age and sex has improved during this economic recovery. Teenage unemployment remains at the high end of the range. Male unemployment at its early-2010 peak stood at 30.6% for teens. Last month it was down 4.4 percentage points to 26.2%. The teenage female unemployment rate of 22.1% fell 3.2 points from 25.3% at its peak.

For those aged 20-24 years, the unemployment rate amongst men was 19.9% at its high. Now it's 14.0%, down 5.9 percentage points. The current female unemployment rate for 20-24 year olds was 12.3% in April, down a lesser 1.9 percentage points from the peak of 14.2% in February 2011.

For adults aged 25 and over the degree of decline also favors men. Their unemployment peaked at 9.5% in late-2009 and it's down 3.2 percentage points to 6.3%. The current adult female jobless rate of 5.9% roughly equals the male rate, but that's down a lesser 1.7 points from the high.

Amongst black African Americans, differences also vary greatly by sex and age. To start, the unemployment rate for black male teenagers last month of 44.7% was down 9.6 percentage from the 2009 high of 54.3%. For teenage women the jobless rate of 37.6% was down 7.4 points from the 45.0% peak. For black men over 20, the 12.6% jobless rate was 6.6 points below its 19.2% peak. For adult women the 11.6% rate was down 2.3 percentage points from its June 2011 high of 13.9%.

The figures referenced above are available in Haver's EMPL database.

 

U.S. Unemployment Rate (%) Apr Mar Feb Y/Y 2012 2011 2010
Total 7.5 7.6 7.7 8.1 8.1 8.9 9.6
  16-19 Years Old 24.1 24.2 25.1 24.9 24.0 24.4 25.8
    Men 26.2 25.9 27.0 27.2 26.8 27.1 28.8
    Women 22.1 22.4 23.2 22.4 21.2 21.6 22.8
  20-24 Years Old 13.1 13.3 13.1 13.2 13.3 14.6 15.5
     Men 14.0 14.4 13.4 14.2 14.3 15.7 17.8
     Women 12.3 12.0 12.7 12.2 12.2 13.4 13.0
  25 Years and Over 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.8 6.8 7.6 8.2
    Men 6.3 6.0 6.3 6.8 6.8 7.9 8.9
    Women 5.9 6.3 6.4 6.8 6.8 7.3 7.5
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