Have America's prime-age workers been left out of the economic recovery?

Since the American labour market hit a bottom in early 2010, total nonfarm employment has grown steadily from 130m to 139m workers.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate has fallen from almost 10% to around 6%.

But the 9m jobs created since 2010 have not been distributed evenly.

Younger workers aged 16 to 24, who represent 14% of the labour force, accounted for 17% of the job gains.

Prime-age workers aged 25 to 54, representing two-thirds of the labour force, accounted for just 28% of the job gains.

Older workers aged 55 and over, who comprise a fifth of the labour force, accounted for more than half of all new jobs.

Worryingly, prime-age employment has grown just 1.4% since 2010, compared to 8.5% for younger workers and 18.2% for older workers.

Much of this growth is due to aging: the number of people over 55 is growing more rapidly than those aged 25 to 54. But it also reflects the difficulty that prime-aged workers -- especially men without college education -- have finding jobs.

As America recovers from the Great Recession, the good economic news hides weaknesses. Employment has returned to pre-recession levels, but for many people a real recovery has yet to come.

See story in our recent issue here.

Source: US Bureau of Labour Statistics

American businesses added 209,000 jobs in July marking the sixth straight month of job growth above 200,000. But the favourable employment figures belie concerns about the economic recovery, from declining labour-force participation and anaemic wage growth, to high rates of long-term unemployment. This “action chart” highlights one troubling aspect of the economic climate: the lack of job growth among prime-age workers aged 25 to 54.