Unexpectedly Intriguing!
November 7, 2008

Compared to September 2008, some 297,000 individuals are no longer counted as being employed just one month later. 42.1% (125,000) of that number are Age 16 to 19. 33.3% (99,000) are Age 20 to 24. Some 73,000 individuals Age 25 and over make up the remaining balance.

We've updated our charts showing the seasonally-adjusted employment figures for these age groups. First, here is the change in the number of employed by age group since total employment peaked in November 2007:

Change in Number of Employed by Age Group Since Total Employment Peak Reached in November 2007

In this chart, we see that since total employment peaked in November 2007, those overall numbers have declined by 1,689,000 since then to an overall level of 144,958,000. Of the decline, we see that 405,000 (24.0%) are between Age 16 and 19, 427,000 (33.3%) are between Age 20 and 24 while 857,000 (50.7%) are Age 25 or older. As of October 2008, those Age 16-19 represent 3.7% of the entire U.S. workforce, those Age 20-24 account for 9.3% and those Age 25 and older make up the remaining 86.9% (these percentages do not add up to 100% due to some minor rounding error).

Previously, we found that the number of employed individuals Age 16 to 19 peaked in May 2006. The following chart shows the overall numbers for just those Age 16-19 and all others (Age 20+) have changed each month since then, along with the combined total:

Change in Number of Employed Individuals, Age 16-19 and Age 20+, May 2006 Through October 2008

The next chart shows data for the same Age 16-19, Age 20+ and Combined groups, but this time as a percentage of their total numbers as of May 2006, along with some historical reference and GDP data:

Percentage of Number Employed for Age 16-19 and Age 20+ from Levels Recorded in May 2006

Our final chart shows the contribution of those Age 16-19 and those Age 20+ to the overall number of employed individuals since May 2006:

Age 16-19 and Age 20+ Contributions to Total Number of Employed, May 2006 to October 2008

Our previous discussion, identifying the proximate cause of the decline in teen employment through 2007, is here.

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