Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Unemployment Trends

According to a report released last week by the Bureau of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate in April was 5.0%, up from 4.5 a year ago, but little changed from last month’s rate of 5.1%. Generally these findings were better news than what was expected, but it’s still the case that employment in construction, manufacturing, and retail trade decreased. This is a very short-term view of labor force change, which might be helpful in determining how long and deep our current recession will be, but monthly shifts can also be over-interpreted.

Taking a longer-term view, we can clearly see that among those age 25 and older, unemployment rates are much higher for those with less education. April 2006 to April 2008 unemployment rates grew 13% for those with less than a high school degree, but actually declined slightly (4.5%) for those with a Bachelor’s degree. Of course, you get different trends if you compare across different time periods, yet a consistency across time is that unemployment rates are less volatile for the more educated.

Tune back tomorrow for a post on Health and Aging.

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