MONEY

No spouse, no job: Unemployment hits singles hard

It’s rotten enough, of course, that September’s unemployment rate, as reported Friday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, rose to 9.8%; it’s looking as if the unemployment rate will reach the 10% mark before the Dow hits its own nice round number of 10,000.

But the numbers are even worse for particular segments of the population. As USA Today reports, the jobless rate for single people is more than double that of married people — 13.5% for the unmarried in August vs. 6.3% for wedded workers. One likely reason for the disparity, a researcher tells the newspaper, is that married men, motivated by a family to support, are more likely to take a new job at lower pay than their single counterparts; also, he says, singles tend to be younger and have less education and experience than those who are married.

Other better-known disparities behind the 9.8% headline figure remain in force. The unemployment rates for blacks and Hispanics are higher than the national average, at 15.4% and 12.7%, respectively; the rate for whites is a below-average 9.0%, and for Asians it’s 7.4%. The rate for adult women is 7.8% and for adult men is 10.3%. For teenagers, it’s a whopping 25.9%.

Among high-school graduates with no college education, 10.8% can’t find work, while only 4.9% people with a bachelor’s degree or higher face that problem.

Of course, that’s just the people who are unemployed and looking for work, not those who are working part-time but wish they were working full-time. Nor do those numbers include people who have given up on looking for a job not because they don’t want one, but because they’ve just given up on finding anything. So if you really want to get depressed, go to the EconomPic blog, which graphically (I mean that in the literal sense) shows how the unemployment rate would be even worse than it is were it not for the jump in people who have dropped out of the labor force. You can also see some unpleasant artwork showing how the hours worked per population member is falling off a cliff, and how the all-in underemployment rate is higher than ever.

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