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Unemployment rate drops to 5.2 percent in August 2021

September 09, 2021

The unemployment rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 5.2 percent in August 2021. The number of unemployed people edged down to 8.4 million, following a large decrease in July 2021. Both measures are down considerably from their highs at the end of the February-April 2020 recession. However, they remain above their levels before the COVID-19 pandemic (3.5 percent and 5.7 million in February 2020).

 Unemployment rates for those 16 years and older, by major worker groups
Worker group August 2021 July 2021 April 2020

Total, 16 years and over

5.2% 5.4% 14.8%

Adult men (20 years and over)

5.1 5.4 13.1

Adult women (20 years and over)

4.8 5.0 15.5

Teenagers (16 to 19 years)

11.2 9.6 32.1


4.5 4.8 14.1

Black or African American

8.8 8.2 16.7


4.6 5.3 14.5

Hispanic or Latino ethnicity

6.4 6.6 18.9

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (5.1 percent) and Whites (4.5 percent) declined in August 2021, while the rate for teenagers (11.2 percent) increased. The unemployment rates for adult women (4.8 percent), Blacks (8.8 percent), Asians (4.6 percent), and Hispanics (6.4 percent) showed little change over the month.

 Unemployment rates for those 25 years and older, by educational attainment
Educational attainment August 2021 July 2021 April 2020

Total, 25 years and over

4.5% 4.8% 13.1%

Less than a high school diploma

7.8 9.5 21.0

High school graduates, no college

6.0 6.3 17.3

Some college or associate degree

5.1 5.0 15.0

Bachelor's degree and higher

2.8 3.1 8.4

By educational attainment, the unemployment rate was lowest for those with a bachelor’s degree and higher (2.8 percent) in August 2021. The unemployment rate was highest for those with less than a high school diploma (7.8 percent).

These data are from the Current Population Survey and are seasonally adjusted. People whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. See "The Employment Situation — August 2021" to learn more. Also see charts of Employment Situation data.


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Economics Daily, Unemployment rate drops to 5.2 percent in August 2021 at (visited June 16, 2024).

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