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Economy in Brief

U.S. Unemployment Rates Diminish by Age and Gender
by Tom Moeller  March 21, 2014

Reported early this month, the overall civilian unemployment rate during February was 6.7%, down from the high of 9.6% reached during all of 2010. Improvement extends across all age brackets. The youngest age brackets continue, however, to realize relatively high rates of joblessness. Amongst teenagers the jobless rate of 21.4%, though it's down from the recession peak of 25.9%, is more-than three times the 5.8% rate for those aged 25-54 years old. For young adults aged 20-24 who are perhaps just entering the workforce, the jobless rate of 11.9% is still twice that for the next oldest age group. For individuals aged 55 and over, the latest unemployment rate of 4.6% was the lowest of the age brackets.

Groupings by male and female show interesting differences from these totals. As might be expected, the youngest age groups show a higher rate of joblessness amongst men (16.1%) versus women (12.6%). Both sexes show decline from the high but the gender gap narrows as time passes. For prime-age wage earners, the story is slightly different. Males' unemployment rate declined last month from a higher peak level (9.3%) than for women (7.8%). Last month, however, unemployment for men and for women was roughly equal near 5.8%. This continues a general pattern in place since the 1980s, where male and female unemployment rates are roughly equal during economic growth periods. For men and women aged 55 or older, it's the same story with the jobless rate recently falling to 4.7%.

These detailed unemployment rates are available in Haver's EMPL database.

Unemployment Rate (%) Unemployment Rate - Current Unemployment Rate - 2010 Current Unemployment Rate - Men Current Unemployment Rate - Women
Total 6.7 9.6 7.0 6.4
  16-19 Years 21.4 25.9 24.3 18.7
  20-24 Years 11.9 15.5 13.4 10.3
  25-54 Years 5.8 8.6 5.8 5.7
  55 + Years 4.6 7.0 4.7 4.6
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