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May 2021 Employment Data Digest

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May 2021 Employment Data Digest

  • The U.S. economy added 559,000 jobs in May, an increase from 278,000 jobs added in April. 
  • The overall unemployment rate decreased from 6.1 percent to 5.8 percent. The overall unemployment rate for people ages 55+ decreased slightly from 5 percent to 4.9 percent. While 55+ men saw a sharp decrease in unemployment, the rate was up slightly for 55+ women.
  • In May, over half of jobseekers ages 55 and older (52.5 percent) were long-term unemployed compared with 39.3 percent of jobseekers ages 16 to 54.  
  • The labor force participation rate for the 55+ rose slightly to 38.4 percent and declined slightly for those ages 65 and older to 18.7 percent. 

OVERALL U.S. WORKFORCE:

  • 559,000 jobs added in May ↑
  • Unemployment rate: 5.8 percent ↓ 
  • Number of unemployed persons: 9.3 million ↓ 
  • Labor force participation rate: 61.6 percent ↓
  • Long-term unemployed ages 16–54: 39.3 percent ↓

55 AND OLDER U.S. WORKFORCE:

  • 35.7 million 55+ workers employed in May ↑
  • 55+ unemployment rate: 4.9 percent ↓
  • Number of 55+ unemployed persons: 1.8 million ↓
  • 55+ labor force participation rate: 38.4 percent ↑
  • 55+ long-term unemployed: 52.5 percent ↓

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