The BLS came out with the latest employment statistics. Calculated Risk has a number of useful graphs of the overall situation here and here. I am interested in male employment/unemployment, particularly of less educated men, because I think that is critical to social stability/functioning. The above shows the overall employment/population ratio for men aged 25-54, which does seem to have begun to recover at the very end of last year. Hallelujah! Of course, long term, we still have lots of problems in this area, but at least the cyclic factor seems to be on the upswing again.
This next graph shows the same series since its beginning (1948):
If we want to look at male high-school dropouts, we unfortunately can only look at age 25 and over, and non seasonally adjusted:
You can see that the situation is generally dire for these guys - less than half of them were employed over this last winter - but without seasonal adjustment, it's hard to tell how much the situation is now turning the corner. I guess I'll have to fire up my own seasonal adjustment for this series if I want to track it closely in future. If we assume this last winter will be the worst trough, and comparing to the winter of 2006-2007, then about seven percentage points of such men were lost from the ranks of the employed over the great recession (far more than the four percentage points that were added in the previous recovery).
The situation for men who graduated high school, but have no college education, is broadly similar but a bit better:
The overall level of the series was higher, but they got almost no benefit from the last recovery between 2002 and 2007 - one percentage point, if that. However, in the great recession, they lost almost seven percentage points, pretty similar to the high-school dropout men. If we look slightly longer term, this series goes back to 1992:
As you can see, in the previous cycle, high school graduates gained about 2-3 percentage points in employment-population ratio during the nineties boom, then lost almost five percentage points in the early 2000s recession. One point about this series: it seems to bottom out a couple of years after the others. So it's possibly these guys might be even worse off next winter. I guess I'll have to do the seasonal adjustment to get a better handle on that.