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August 2021 Employment Data Digest


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August 2021 Employment Data Digest

  • The U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs in August, a sharp decrease from the 1.1 million jobs added in July. 
  • The overall unemployment rate declined from 5.4 percent to 5.2 percent. The unemployment rate for people ages 55+ declined from 4.4 percent to 3.9 percent. The unemployment rate declined to 4 percent for 55+ men and to 3.8 percent for 55+ women.
  • In August 49.3 percent of jobseekers ages 55+ were long-term unemployed compared with 34.7 percent of jobseekers ages 16 to 54.  
  • The labor force participation rate for the 55+ increased slightly, to 38.5 percent, and also rose slightly for those ages 65 and older, to 18.9 percent. 


  • 235,000 jobs added in August ↓
  • Unemployment rate: 5.2 percent ↓  
  • Number of unemployed persons: 8.4 million ↓
  • Labor force participation rate: 61.7 percent ↔
  • Long-term unemployed ages 16–54: 34.7 percent ↓


  • 36.4 million 55+ workers employed in August ↑
  • 55+ unemployment rate: 3.9 percent ↓
  • Number of 55+ unemployed persons: 1.5 million ↓
  • 55+ labor force participation rate: 38.5 percent ↑
  • 55+ long-term unemployed: 49.3 percent ↓

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics. Arrows denote a directional change from the prior month.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

About the PPI Monthly Employment Data Digest

The AARP Public Policy Institute’s (PPI) latest monthly digest of employment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) examines the findings from the Employment Situation Report. It takes a closer look at employment data for people ages 55 and over, including labor force participation, employment rates, and duration of unemployment. 

For more analysis from PPI expert Jennifer Schramm on employment trends and older workers, see our blog

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