Looking Beyond the Jobless Rate

Since people who lose jobs usually manage to find new ones (eventually), the unemployment rate at any given time understates the number of people who’ve recently been fired or laid off. Pew Research Center polling finds 16 percent of men and 11 percent of women saying they’ve endured that experience in the past year.

Though a job loss is most common among people with income under $30,000 (23 percent), it’s in double digits in the $30,000-49,999 bracket (14 percent) and among those making $50,000-99,999 (11 percent). Six percent of people in the $100,000-plus cohort have lost a job in the past year. In a breakdown of the data by age, 21 percent of 18-29-year-olds lost a job, as did 15 percent of the 30-49s, 11 percent of the 50-64s and 3 percent of those 65 and older.

In a breakdown by race and ethnicity, the rates of job loss during the past year for Hispanics (19 percent) and non-Hispanic blacks (21 percent) were far higher than for non-Hispanic whites (11 percent).