Shape of the labor forceThere are a multitude of reasons why members of the general population are outside of the civilian labor force. Some of these reasons are desirable, such as early retirement, while others are unavoidable, such as long-term illness or caring for others. However, the proportion of the population who are unemployed so long they lose hope or the desire to continue searching for a job is of great concern to policymakers. This phenomenon has prompted economists and concerned members of the public to raise awareness that the long-term unemployment rate in the United States is actually higher than government statistics suggest.
Like many countries around the world, the United States is struggling with youth unemployment rates higher than the national unemployment rate. In March 2022, the unemployment rate for those aged 16 to 24 was 8.2 percent. In contrast, the national figure in the same month was 3.6 percent.