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Post Recession Employment Status of Prime Age Workers

Created on March 12, 2013

Post Recession Employment Status of Prime Age Workers

Unemployment peaked in October 2009 and has been dropping ever since. Typically, when the unemployment rate goes down, it’s because more people find jobs. In this recession, however, employment rates have been flat. While this is partly due to the retirement of baby boomers, even among prime age workers, employment increases account for only about 40 percent of the drop in unemployment. The rest—60 percent— is due to the high number of people who have left the labor force and stopped looking for work. The charts below show changes in employment status since 2009 for 25-to-54-year-olds.

LABOR FORCE PARTICIPATION RATE (% of population working or looking to work)

EMPLOYMENT– POPULATION RATIO (% of population working)

UNEMPLOYMENT– POPULATION RATIO (% of population out of work but looking for work)

▼ Down 1.3

▲ Up 0.9

▼ Down 2.2

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey.”