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December 2020 Employment Data Digest

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U.S. employment declined by 140,000 jobs in December, in contrast to the 336,000 jobs added in November.

The overall unemployment rate remained at 6.7 percent in December. The unemployment rate for people ages 55+ increased from 5.8 percent to 6 percent. For men ages 55+, it was unchanged from November at 5.9 percent and, for women ages 55+, it increased from 5.8 percent to 6.1 percent.

In December, 45.5 percent of jobseekers ages 55 and older were long-term unemployed compared with 35.1 percent of jobseekers ages 16 to 54. 


140,000 jobs lost in December ↓

Unemployment rate: 6.7 percent ↔

Number of unemployed persons: 10.7 million ↔

Labor force participation rate: 61.5 percent ↔

Long-term unemployed ages 16–54: 35.1 percent ↓


35.4 million 55+ workers employed in December ↓

55+ unemployment rate: 6 percent ↑

Number of 55+ unemployed persons: 2.3 million ↑

55+ labor force participation rate:  38.6 percent ↓

55+ long-term unemployed: 45.5 percent ↓


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Arrows denote a directional change from the prior month.

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