How bad is the unemployment rate?

John Lott by John Lott on May 30th, 2012

The real people hurting are those under 25 and those over 55, but even those in the middle are having a hard time.  For those in the middle of the age distribution, the numbers in the middle are the worst in 23 years.  From the Washington Post:

The percentage of workers between the ages of 25 and 54 who have jobs now stands at 75.7 percent, just a percentage point over what it was at the downturn’s worst, according to federal statistics.
Before the recession the proportion hovered at 80 percent.
While the unemployment rate may be the most closely watched gauge of the economy in the presidential campaign, this measure of prime-age workers captures more of the ongoing turbulence in the job market. It reflects “missing workers” who have stopped looking for work and aren’t included in the unemployment rate. . . .

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