More older people went to work in March, but younger workers lost ground as U.S. employers grew more cautious about hiring.
Among workers 55 and older, an additional 329,000 described themselves as employed in March. Their numbers helped lower that group's unemployment rate to 3.9 percent from 4.3 percent in February.
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Fortunes were reversed for younger workers: Unemployment rates for teenagers and those in their early 20s rose.
Overall, the U.S. economy added just 126,000 jobs in March — the fewest since December 2013. The unemployment rate remained 5.5 percent.
The data for various demographic groups came from a separate survey of households that is part of the Labor Department's monthly jobs data.
|Unemployment rate by group:|
|(Numbers in percentages)||March 2015||February 2015||March 2014|
|20-24 years old||10.4||10.0||12.2|
|25-54 years old||4.5||4.6||5.6|
|55 and over||3.9||4.3||4.7|
|Veterans of Iraq/Afghanistan*||6.5||6.7||6.9|
|No high school diploma||8.6||8.4||9.4|
|High school graduate||5.3||5.4||6.3|
|Duration of Unemployment:|
|Average length (weeks)||30.7||31.7||35.2|
|Jobless 6 months of more (pct.)||29.8||31.1||35.4|
|* Not seasonally adjusted|
|Source: Labor Department|