It's Been One Heck Of A Recovery In Low-Paying Zoomer Jobs

Here's a look at employment levels of March 2021 compared to February 2020. Also, a chart of "What If?"

Employment Change in Thousands 

Current employment is down about 7.81 million since February of 2020. That is a total of the changes of each age group added together. 

Age Group 25-34, and 45-54 were hardest hit as measured by sheer raw numbers. 

Millennials are currently aged 25-40. Generation X are currently 41-56. 

Generation Z Recovery

Generation Z (Zoomers), age 16-24 were initially hit hard losing 6.089 million jobs. 

Zoomers have since recovered all but 1.299 million jobs.

That means low paying jobs are recovering the fastest.

Calculation Notes

  • Totaling subcomponents of BLS data seldom matches up precisely but in this case it's close. 
  • The BLS Employment Level change is -7.88 million (150.848 minus 158.732) vs my total of -7.81 million. 
  • The BLS has seasonal adjustments up through age group 54 but only unadjusted data 55 and older. 
  • I did not use unadjusted numbers across the board due to wild swings in seasonal adjustments for age groups 16 to 24 (think school). 

What If the Employment Population Ratio Was Unchanged?

Employment vs Employment at Pre-Covid EPR 2021-03

The above chart represents a meaningful "What If?" comparison. 

This ties into Fed Chair Jerome Powell's idea that unemployment is worse than reported. 

For the above chart, I calculated what employment would look like if the same percentage of people were working in each age group as before the pandemic hit.

On this basis, millennials were clobbered. It's hard to tell precisely because of some overlap with generation X. 

Employment "What If?" 

Realistically, employment is about 8.6 million below where it was in February of 2020 if we adjust for population changes in each age group.

March Jobs Report 

Note that the average hourly wage fell this month.

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