New Jobs and Unemployment Figures For Young Adults -- February 2012

The February jobs numbers from the BLS reveal steady improvement in the labor market, aided by a mild winter and the momentum of recovery. The trends for young adults are less encouraging, with higher than average unemployment rates persisting despite strong job growth in the sectors where young workers are most likely to find employment. Among those workers under age 25, the unemployment rate diverged from the general trend, jumping dramatically from a 34-month low just one month before. Still, the return of young workers to the labor force and gains in the level of employment indicate a slow convalescence of the labor market that benefits young people hoping to make up for more than three years of lost time.

With 227,000 jobs added in February, the level of employment rose across age groups. As a result, the percentage of employed persons out of the young adult population ticked up for the second month in a row, by 0.2 percent for both workers ages 20 to 24 and those ages 25 to 34. Simultaneously, the labor force swelled as workers returned to the job market.

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