One of Twenty Facts About U.S. Inequality that Everyone Should Know

Discouraged Workers

Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe that there are no jobs available for them. The number of discouraged workers in the U.S. increased sharply during the current recession, rising to 717,000 in the first quarter of 2009, a 70-percent increase from the first quarter of 2008. Relative to their share of the labor force, young people, blacks, and, to a lesser extent, Hispanics and men were over-represented among discouraged workers.

Unemployed and marginally attached workers in first quarter of 2009 (as share of the civilian population)

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Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2009. Ranks of Discouraged Workers and Others Marginally Attached to the Labor Force Rise During Recession. See