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The Effects of Recessions Across Demographic Groups

The burdens of a recession are not spread evenly across demographic groups. The public and media, for example, noticed that, from the start of the current recession in December 2007 through June 2009, men accounted for more than three quarters of net job losses. Other differences have garnered less attention, but are just as interesting. During the same period, the employment of single people fell at more than twice the rate that it did for married people, while black employment fell at one-and-a-half times the rate that white employment did. To have a more complete understanding about what recessions mean for people, this paper examines the different effects of this and previous recessions on employment experiences across a range of demographic categories: sex, marital status, race, age, and education level.

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