US job market improves for 25- to 54-year-olds

US job market improves for 25- to 54-year-olds

Credit: Getty Images

SUNRISE, FL - OCTOBER 11: Bonnie Altwerger sits for a job interview with Jessica Cortes as she looks for part time work at Carter's Children's Wear during a job fair at Sawgrass Mills on October 11, 2013 in Sunrise, Florida. As the holiday season approaches many of the roughly 50 retailers at the job fair including Banana Republic, J.Crew Factory, Victoria's Secret and Calvin Klein are starting to hire people for seasonal work as well as continuing to look for qualified full time employees. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Associated Press

Posted on April 4, 2014 at 3:14 PM

The U.S. unemployment rate was changed at 6.7 percent in March. But the jobs picture has brightened for workers in their prime earning years, according to the Labor Department report issued Friday.

One of the disturbing trends after the Great Recession ended in mid-2009 was the relatively modest share of 25- to 54-year-olds with jobs. Roughly 80 percent of this age bracket worked before the economic downturn. That figure plunged as low as 74.8 percent toward the end of 2010.

But it recovered in March to 76.7 percent, the best reading since February 2009.

This suggests that a core of U.S. workers — whose wages drive the bulk of consumer spending — are finally achieving steady job gains. Their employment-to-population ratio has climbed 1.2 percentage points over the past six months. It may be a possible indicator of stronger overall economic growth.

Not everyone, of course, benefited from last month's hiring.

College graduates suffered a slight setback. Their unemployment rate stayed flat at 3.4 percent. Many had lost jobs and stopped looking for one. Still, college grads continue to enjoy better job prospects than those with less education.

Unemployment rate by group:
(Numbers in percentages)March 2014Feb. 2014March 2013
White5.85.86.7
Black12.41213.2
Asian*5.465
Adult men6.26.46.9
Adult women6.25.96.9
Teenagers20.921.423.9
20-24 years old12.211.913.3
25-54 years old5.75.86.3
55 and over4.74.65.5
Veterans of Iraq/Afghanistan*6.99.29.2
No high school diploma9.69.811.1
High school graduate6.36.47.6
Some college6.16.26.4
College graduate3.43.43.8
Duration of Unemployment:
Average length (weeks)35.637.137
Jobless 6 months or more (pct.)35.83739.1
* Not seasonally adjusted
Source: Labor Department

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