Year-over-year unemployment rates by age and sex

Associated Press

Published: Friday, Feb. 3 2012 2:24 p.m. MST

The job market is treating men better than women, reducing the job losses that men suffered during the Great Recession. And twenty-somethings and retirees are benefiting slightly more than middle-age workers.

Over the past 12 months, the proportion of people with jobs has risen faster for those ages 20 to 24 and those 65 or older than for workers as a whole, according to Labor Department data released Friday.

Unemployment for middle-age workers fell sharply over the past year. But that was largely because many of them gave up looking for work. Once people stop looking for jobs, they're no longer counted as unemployed.

Unemployment among teenagers is still rising.

In the past 12 months, unemployment for men has dropped six times as fast as for women — from 9.6 percent to 8.3 percent. Unemployment for women dropped only slightly, from 8.5 percent to 8.3 percent.

Many male-dominated industries, including manufacturing and construction, were struck especially hard by the recession. Some employers in those industries have begun to rehire men. But other men who worked in those fields have found jobs in lower-paying, female-dominated occupations in health care and retail.

Young adults and retirees fared slightly better than the middle-aged over the past 12 months, in part by taking lower-paying jobs.

Updated Census Bureau data increased the civilian population by more than 1.5 million for December. Sharp increases occurred among retirees and people ages 16 to 24.

Unemployment rate (in percentages)
January 2012January 2011
Total8.3%9.1%
16 to 17 years old28.1%26.5%
18 to 19 years old22.4%26.3%
20 to 24 years old14.2%16.3%
25 to 34 years old9.6%10.1%
35 to 44 years old7.5%8.1%
45 to 54 years old6.9%7.9%
55 to 64 years old6.4%7.4%
65 years and over6.2%6.9%
Men8.3%9.6%
Women8.3%8.5%

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