The job market has treated some people better than others in 2011. According to Labor Department data released Friday:
» The proportion of workers who have jobs rose faster for those ages 20 to 24 and those over 65 than for other workers. Young adults and retirees fared slightly better than the middle-aged in 2011, in part by picking up lower-paying jobs. Unemployment for middle-age workers fell faster in 2011, but that was largely because many middle-age workers gave up looking for work and no longer were counted as unemployed.
» Over the past 12 months, unemployment for men fell more than twice as fast as for women — from 10 percent to 8.7 percent. But women still have a lower rate: 8.3 percent, down from 8.6 percent. Many male-dominated industries, including manufacturing and construction, were struck hard by the recession. Some employers in those industries have begun to rehire. But other men in those fields have found jobs in female-dominated occupations in health care and retail.
» For workers without a high school diploma, seasonally adjusted unemployment slid from 15.1 percent to 13.8 percent. Among high school graduates with no college experience, it fell from 9.8 percent to 8.7 percent. The rate for those with a bachelor's degree or beyond declined from 4.8 percent to 4.1 percent. Five years ago, it was just 1.8 percent.
» Whites, Asians and Hispanics enjoyed better job prospects. But the unemployment rate for African-Americans lagged far behind, remaining unchanged through 2011 at 15.8 percent, the highest level in decades.
— The Associated Press