Roosevelt Institute intern Charlie Eisenhood dug up this data on the unemployment rate by age and education from the Current Population Survey (CPS). Here it is in September 2010:
And here it was in December 2007 when the recession started:
Here is the difference between the two, along with the percent increase, so a (100%) is a doubling:
What jumps out for me? College educated 20-24 year olds have the highest percentage increase. This should hit against a structural unemployment story, as college educated people have the ‘freshest’ skills and incredibly high mobility. It’s worth pointing them out in particular because if their careers hit a rough spot hysteresis sets in and they’ll have serious wage losses years down the road (see this classic White House blog post on the subject by Peter Orszag on the research of graduating into a recession), and because the crisis is often seen as not a big deal for college educated workers.
The other thing that jumps out at me is that everyone 55-64 has more than doubled their unemployment rate. One thing we aren’t talking about enough is that someone who is 60 and has been unemployed for a year isn’t going to find a decent job again. Why don’t we temporarily lower the retirement age, conditional on a bunch of hoops? Other ways of looking at the labor search outcomes of 55-64 year olds are extra worrying. Why don’t we do that especially rather than raising the retirement age, as the December debate is likely to be over, when 55-64 year olds have had such a large jump in unemployment?
What jumps out at you when you look at this data?