Friday, February 24, 2012

Unemployment Rate By Age

Let's take a look at the unemployment rate by age bracket, starting with the youngest and moving to the oldest.

The unemployment rate for 16-19 YOs spiked to over 25% after the last recession, but has been dropping.  However, I certainly wouldn't call this fatal, as this age group is probably now staying in school as opposed to working.

The 20-24 YO unemployment rate spiked to nearly 17.5%, but is also heading lower.  This number is a bit more troubling than the 16-19 YP chart, but, again, this is an age group that would be in college/education at this age.  However, the high number could also mean the job opportunities for recent graduates aren't that high, which is concerning.

Now we're moving into troubling areas, as the 25-24 age group should be fully engaged in the labor force.  Instead, they are unemployed at a high rate -- the highest since the recession of  the early 1980s.

The unemployment rate for the 35-44 age group spiked to about 9%, but has since moved lower to around 7%.  However, again, this number is far too high.

This age group should be fully engaged as well, and they should be getting paid higher salaries as they are starting to hit their peak earnings potential.  While 6.5% is not a bad unemployment rate, notice how this age group has historically been less prone to higher rates of unemployment.

The unemployment rate for the 55+ is also far too high.

I charted the larger age groups on the above chart for the last 10 years.  Notice first that the 25-34 age group has experienced a higher rate of unemployment than other groups.  Part of this is educationally related  -- these are the age groups when most post college education occurs.  Next, notice that he 35-44 experiences the next highest rate of unemployment on average, even during the last expansion.  This is followed by the the 35054 age groups and finally the 55+ age group.