As the U.S. labor market continues to recover following the 2007–2009 recession, many observers have expressed concern about the large number of people with long durations of unemployment. The long-term unemployed—those unemployed 27 weeks or longer—peaked at 45 percent of total unemployment in the spring of 2010, nearly a year after the recession ended in June 2009. The percentage has fallen since then, but the long-term unemployed still accounted for 37 percent of total unemployment in July 2013. This week BLS published a different perspective of long-term unemployment in a new edition of Beyond the Numbers. The report examines long-term unemployment over men’s careers. The report looks at men who were born in the years 1957 to 1964, the latter years of the baby boom. The analysis covers the mid-1980s through 2009, focusing on men’s employment histories from their mid-20s until their middle to late 40s and early 50s. The report examines the proportion of these men who had a long-term unemployment spell over their career, how long it took to find a job after their first long-term unemployment spell, and how the spell affected wages over time.
Also this week, BLS published a news release on employment and unemployment among youth in the summer of 2013. The youth labor force grows sharply between April and July each year. During these months, large numbers of high school and college students search for or take summer jobs, and many graduates enter the labor market to look for or begin permanent employment. This summer, the youth labor force ages 16 to 24 grew by 2.8 million, or 13.4 percent, to a total of 23.5 million in July. The labor force participation rate for all youth—the proportion of the population 16 to 24 years old working or looking for work—was 60.5 percent in July, the same as a year earlier. The feature The Economics Daily includes some graphics on summer youth labor force participation.