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March 2024 Employment Data Digest

  • The U.S. economy added 303,000 jobs in March, up from the 270,000 jobs added in February.
  • The overall unemployment rate was down slightly from 3.9 percent to 3.8 percent. The 55+ unemployment rate decreased from 2.8 percent to 2.6 percent. For men ages 55+, it decreased from 2.8 percent to 2.6 percent. The unemployment rate for women ages 55+ also decreased, from 2.9 percent to 2.6 percent.
  • In March, 24 percent of jobseekers ages 55+ were long-term unemployed, compared to 19.9 percent of jobseekers ages 16 to 54. 
  • The total labor force participation rate increased from 62.5 percent to 62.7 percent. For those ages 55+, it increased slightly, from 38.5 percent to 38.6 percent. The (unadjusted) rate for those ages 65+ was unchanged at 19.4 percent.


  • 303,000 jobs added in March ↑
  • Unemployment rate: 3.8 percent ↓
  • Number of unemployed persons: 6.4 million ↓
  • Labor force participation rate: 62.7 percent ↑
  • Long-term unemployed ages 16–54: 19.9 percent ↑ 


  • 37.8 million 55+ workers employed in March ↑
  • 55+ unemployment rate: 2.6 percent ↓
  • Number of 55+ unemployed persons: 1 million ↓
  • 55+ labor force participation rate: 38.6 percent ↑
  • 55+ long-term unemployed: 24 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