The Last 20 Years of Unemployment by Age and Education


We showed you long-term unemployment by age and education. The upshot: The older and less educated you are, the worse your spell of unemployment tends to be. Almost half of the unemployed people over the age of 55 have been out of work for more than a year. They also tend to be less educated. More than a third of those unemployed without a college degree have been out of work for more than a year.

But what about overall unemployment? According to a 2011 paper by Henry S. Farber at Princeton University brings the graphs, the younger and less educated you are, the worse off your segment.

Unemployment by Education: Joblessness Wasted on the Young
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The job loss rate for workers with twelve years of education was 9.4 percent in 1997-99 (the lowest in the sample period) compared with 14.3 percent in 1981-83 and 19.4 percent in 2007-09. In contrast, the job loss rate for workers with at least sixteen years of education was 5.4 percent in 1987-89 compared with 6.9 percent in 1981-83 and 11.0 percent in 2007-2009.
Unemployment by Age: Joblessness Wasted on the Young
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Job loss rates are highest for the youngest workers (20-29) and generally show the standard cyclical pattern. The job loss rates of the oldest two group, ages 40-49 and 50-64, are very similar. There has been some convergence over time in rates of job loss by age, with the rates for older workers increasing relative to those for younger workers.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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