Despite the gradual return of the unemployment rate to prerecession levels, some workers still have not benefited from the economic recovery. Even in healthy economies, high rates of joblessness remain a persistent problem for individuals who face severe labor-market disadvantages or barriers to employment. These individuals include people with criminal records, people with disabilities, individuals with limited education and minimal work experience, and opportunity youth—young people ages 16 to 24 who are not in school or working. These workers are often the last to be hired—even in good times—and the first to be laid off in tough times. Other groups—such as the long-term unemployed and older workers— suffered disproportionately during the recession and continue to experience elevated unemployment rates even as the economy recovers and adds jobs.
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