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Lowest unemployment rates in decades at end of 1999

March 29, 2000

The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 1999—a 30-year low. The rate had been 4.4 percent at the end of 1998.

Unemployment rates by selected characteristics, fourth quarter 1998 and fourth quarter 1999
[Chart data—TXT]

Workers in most major demographic groups benefited from improvements in the job market in 1999. The unemployment rate for adult women fell from 4.0 percent to 3.6 percent between the fourth quarters of 1998 and 1999, compared to a decline from 3.6 percent to 3.4 percent for adult men—the rate for women was the lowest in 31 years, while the rate for men was the lowest in 26 years.

The unemployment rate of teens improved slightly in 1999, finishing the year at 13.8 percent. The teenage unemployment rate had not been this low since the early 1970s.

The unemployment rate for whites ended the year at a three-decade low of 3.5 percent. For Hispanics, the unemployment rate reached a record low of 6.1 percent at the end of 1999. The black unemployment rate finished the year at 8.1 percent, a rate lower than any recorded prior to 1999.

These data are a product of the Current Population Survey. To find out more, see "The job market remains strong in 1999," by Jennifer Martel and Laura A. Kelter, Monthly Labor Review, February 2000.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Lowest unemployment rates in decades at end of 1999 at (visited May 26, 2024).

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