Many more are jobless than are unemployed

Men in the prime of their working lives are now less likely to have jobs than they were during all but one recession of the last 60 years. Most of them do not qualify as unemployed, but they are nonetheless without jobs, says the New York Times.

Among men ages 25 to 54 – a range that starts after most people finish their education and ends well before most people retire - the unemployment rate is 4.1 per cent.

However, only people without jobs who are actively looking for work qualify as unemployed in the computation of that rate. It does not count people who are not looking for work, whether or not they would like to have a job. But there is another rate – called the jobless rate – that counts the proportion of people without jobs, explains the Times.

  • The jobless rate is at 13.1 per cent for men in the prime age group, according to the Department of Labour.

  • Only once during a post-World War II recession did the rate ever get that high; it hit 13.3 per cent in June 1982, the 12th month of the brutal 1981-82 recession, and continued to rise from there.

  • Even among women there has been some slippage; the proportion of women ages 25 to 54 without a job was 27.4 per cent in March.

    The government breaks down the figures by race, and those figures show that over the last year almost all the jobs lost by men in the 25 to 54 age group have been lost by whites, with most of those losses affecting men ages 35 to 44. There have been just a small number of losses by black men in the 25 to 54 age group and employment for Hispanic men is still growing, albeit at a much slower pace than it was a few months ago.

    Source: Floyd Norris, Many More are Jobless than are Unemployed, New York Times, April 12, 2008.

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    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 22 April 2008
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