The Jobless Stat You Should Worry About

People in their prime working years aren't finding jobs
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 30, 2012 9:43 AM CDT
The Jobless Stat You Should Worry About
In this Tuesday, April 24, 2012 photo, Taylor Schnuerle, 23, of Portland, center, stands in line with other job seekers during a job fair, in Portland, Ore.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

(Newser) – The unemployment rate may be improving, but that doesn't mean the job market is, and there's one group in particular that's having an alarmingly hard time finding work: People in their prime working years. Only 75.7% of people aged 25 to 54 have jobs, the Washington Post reports, a portion smaller than any seen in the 23 years before the recession. Men have been hit especially hard; their percentage hasn't been this low since 1948.

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That's alarming because between the ages of 25 and 54 is the time when workers are expected to build careers and retirement funds. Economists say the figure provides a better view of the job market than the unemployment rate, which only counts people actively looking for work. "The unemployment rate is screwy right now because the labor market is so weak that people have stopped trying," one economist explains. (Read more unemployment stories.)

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