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Highest Unemployment Rate Us History

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The Impact Of Lower Worker Reallocation Rates

US hits highest rate of unemployment since The Great Depression

Low rates of worker reallocation could have important implications for unemployment dynamics in the near term. In theory, the more labor market churning there is in an economy, the faster the unemployment rate returns to its trend. Intuitively, as unemployed workers start finding jobs at a higher rate, unemployment will decline faster toward its trend. The same is true when unemployment is lower than its trend level.

To understand the impact of worker reallocation on the rate of the decline in the unemployment rate, we use our model to generate simulations of the adjustment to trend unemployment based on two different starting points. In the baseline case, we start from our current low estimates of job-finding and separation rate trends. In the alternative case, we start from the job-finding rate trend that was observed in the 1980s and a correspondingly high separation rate trendthis results in the same implied unemployment rate trend as the baseline case but the labor reallocation rate is higher. Figure 3 shows the results of this experiment. The conclusion is clear the current worker reallocation rate trend predicts a slower decline in the unemployment rate. This difference could be as high as 1.3 percentage points along the transition path.

Many More Businesses Closed Their Doors Than Opened During The Great Recession

When a business closes or opens, its classified as an establishment death or establishment birth, respectively. During the tail end of the Great Recession, 235,000 establishments closed while only 172,000 opened , leaving many workers unemployed.

Cumulatively, job openings decreased 44% to 2.1 million, and overall employment declined 5%.

Alternative Measures Of Unemployment

In response to concerns that the official rate does not fully convey the health of the labor market, the BLS publishes five alternative measures: U-1, U-2, U-4, U-5, and U-6. Though these are often referred to as unemployment rates , U-3 is technically the only official unemployment rate. The others are measures of “labor underutilization.”

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A Framework For Understanding The Unemployment Rate Trend

In a recent Economic Commentary, Saeed Zaman and I proposed a way to measure the long-run trend of the unemployment rate over time using real output and the rates at which workers flow out of employment and into employment . Our model assumes that the behavior of each of these rates consists of an unobserved trend component that moves relatively slowly over time and a cyclical component that fluctuates with the business cycle.

We separate the trend from the cyclical component in all the variables, and then we use the trends of the separation and job-finding flows to estimate the long-term trend of the unemployment rate. That calculation is based on the fact that, in the long run, the unemployment rate will converge to the ratio of the separation rate trend to the overall reallocation rate trend .

Government As The Employer Of Last Resort

Unemployment Rate in U.S Jumps to Highest Level Since WWII (infographic ...

The government could also become the employer of last resort, just as central banks are the lenders of last resort. A job guarantee would maintain labor market stability and could establish full employment. This would introduce a shock absorber into the labor market. Full employment might also gain wider support among the electorate than a basic income policy.

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Unemployment Rates And Economic Strength

Having a low unemployment rate does not mean a country’s economy is particularly strong. For instance, Niger had only 0.8% unemployment in 2021, but its GDP per capita was $594.9 in 2021, according to the World Bank. Burundi had 1.8% unemployment in 2021 but a GDP per capita of $236.8 in 2021.

These countries have low unemployment figures in large part because their economies rely heavily on agriculture, which is labor-intensive but seasonal. Remember that the underemployed are still counted in employment figures. Even Laos, with a relatively healthy GDP per capita of $2,551.3 in 2021, still employed 61% of its workforce in agriculture in 2019.

The Unemployment Rate Was 35% In September 2022

Kimberly Amadeo is an expert on U.S. and world economies and investing, with over 20 years of experience in economic analysis and business strategy. She is the President of the economic website World Money Watch. As a writer for The Balance, Kimberly provides insight on the state of the present-day economy, as well as past events that have had a lasting impact.

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The current unemployment rate, which measures the percentage of workers who want a job but dont have one, has remained low as the U.S. economy continues to rebound from COVID-19.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics tracks unemployment and jobs on a monthly basis. The current unemployment rate reveals more about the state of the overall economy and its impact on the average American’s finances.

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How Is The Unemployment Rate Calculated

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates unemployment as the percentage of the eligible workforce not currently employed. Eligible workers are those age 16 or older who were available to work full time and actively looked for work in the past four weeks. Temporarily laid-off workers are also counted.

There Were Ten Recessions Between 1948 And 2011

Kentucky reports lowest unemployment rate in its history

One of the more recent recessions began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, known as the Great Recession. During this time, the U.S. GDP fell to 4.3%, unemployment peaked at 10.6% in January 2010, and the number of unemployed increased by 8.8 million.

This period also saw much higher levels of unemployment that persisted longer than in any other, dating back to the late 1940s.

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Unemployment In The United States

Unemployment in the United States discusses the causes and measures of U.S. unemployment and strategies for reducing it. Job creation and unemployment are affected by factors such as economic conditions, global competition, education, automation, and demographics. These factors can affect the number of workers, the duration of unemployment, and wage levels.

Numbers Behind The Unemployment Rate In Us

The US unemployment rate refers to the total number of people who are unemployed in the US, and actively seeking employment within the past four weeks. This includes both part-time and full-time workers, as well as people who have given up on finding a job or have retired. The current unemployment rate in the US is 3.5%, which indicates that there are currently around 5.7 million people who are out of work but looking to find employment.

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Unemployment Rates Under President Obama

When Obama assumed office, the unemployment rate was still rising sharply. It topped out at 10 percent in October 2009, hovering just below that level for the next year, before beginning a steady decline at the end of 2010 that has persisted into early-2016 and breaking through the 5 percent mark at the beginning of 2016.

Influencing Factors On The Us Unemployment Rate

Highest Unemployment Rate in U.S. History? : LateStageCapitalism

There are a number of factors that influence the unemployment rate in the United States, including the number of people leaving the workforce, hiring rates, and economic growth. The current pandemic has had a significant impact on unemployment rates as well, with many businesses shutting down or reducing hours. In November 2009, there were 25.2 million unemployed workers nationwide, but by December 2010 this number was up to 27.5 million. From January 2007 to July 2011, the unemployment rate increased from 4.4% to 9.1%. After reaching its peak at 10.0% in October 2009, it fell to 8.6% in June 2011 before rising again over the next two months . According to data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, approximately 45 percent of unemployed individuals have been without work for 27 weeks or more .

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Figure 1 Cumulative Increase In The Unemployment Rate

Note: The recession average is the average unemployment rate progression for postwar recessions, and the range is plus or minus one standard deviation.Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Many economists, policymakers, and forecasters anticipate that the unemployment rate will stay above 9 percent over the near term. Their forecasts typically assume that the underlying trend of the unemployment rate, sometimes dubbed the natural rate of unemployment, must have risen over the course of the last recession. But it is more likely, given the size of the drop in aggregate economic activity during the recession , that the unemployment rates rise is due mostly to cyclical factors. I argue that even if the unemployment-rate trend has not increased, the unemployment rate could still stay high for some time. Moreover, the weakness of the recovery in real output and the slow rate of worker reallocation are likely to keep unemployment from declining to pre-recession levels any time soon.

States With The Highest Unemployment Rate In 2022

In terms of both December 2021’s monthly unemployment rate and the annual average for 2021, … California ranked as the state with the highest unemployment rate in the country.


The American economy and labor force has endured a wild ride over the past two years as the Covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the country. Fortunately, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics , December 2021 jobless rates are down in the vast majority of states, while payroll jobs are up in 17 states. However, many states still face daunting unemployment numbers amidst the good news for most states.

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Which State Has The Highest Unemployment Rate

Based on the latest monthly jobs report from the BLS, that of December 2021, the state with the highest unemployment rate is California, with an unemployment rate of 6.5%. Looking at the annual average unemployment rate for 2021, California also ranks as the state with the highest unemployment rate at 7.7%, but its tied with Nevada and Hawaii, who both had annual average unemployment rates of 7.7% for 2021.

Us Unemployment Rates By Year

US unemployment rate jumps to highest level since WWII

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has measured unemployment since the stock market crash of 1929.

Gross domestic product is the measure of economic output by a country. When the unemployment rate is high, there are fewer workers. That could lead to less economic output and a lower rate of GDP.

When inflation rises, the prices of goods and services go up, making them more expensive. If there is a high rate of unemployment at the same time, this could cause issues for those without an income since they may be struggling to afford basic necessities.

The following table shows how unemployment, GDP, and inflation have changed by year since 1929. Unless otherwise stated, the unemployment rate is for December of that year. Unemployment rates for the years 1929 through 1947 were calculated from a different BLS source due to current BLS data only going back to 1948. GDP is the annual rate and inflation is for December of that year and is the year-over-year rate.


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Illinois Unemployment Rate Is Worst In Us

Illinois added 14,900 jobs in September, but its unemployment rate was the highest in the nation. Inflation and growing recession fears could hit the state harder than most.

Despite sustained job growth recently, the unemployment rate in Illinois is now the worst in the nation.

Illinois unemployment rate remains 4.5%, now the highest in the nation and a full percentage point higher than the national rate of 3.5%.

The states sluggish recovery from the pandemic is putting the state in a precarious position as economic uncertainty and recession fears continue to increase. Illinoisans suffered more than most Americans during the Great Recession. Because the state still hasnt recovered from the pandemic, it remains vulnerable to suffering more severely than other states should a recession occur.

Illinois has a tendency to struggle to recover from economic downturns compared to the rest of the nation, as it did after the Great Recession and is doing now after the pandemic. During the Great Recession from 2007 to 2009, Illinois economy shrank by nearly 5% compared to a 3.2% drop in the rest of the nation. Then it lagged the recovery from 2009 to 2017, growing by 10.6% while the rest of the nation grew by 17.1%.

Several sectors shed jobs. The leisure and hospitality sector lost 1,500 jobs for the month the information sector dropped 600 jobs and manufacturing lost 100 jobs.

Mining payrolls remained unchanged for the sixth consecutive month.

The Construction And Manufacturing Industries Were Hit With The Highest Levels Of Unemployment During The Great Recession

Its common for goods-producing industries to encounter significant employment dips during recessions. The Great Recession was no different, where construction employment declined by 13.7% and manufacturing declined by 10%.

Employment in the financial activities sector dropped by 3.9%, whereas education and health services actually saw employment increases during this time. In fact, employment in education and health services has decreased in only one of the 12 recessions since 1945.

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Unemployment Rate And Covid

In response to pandemic-related closures or business cutbacks, unemployment in the United States achieved historic records. In May 2020, 49.8 million individual reported they had been unable to work at some point in the prior four weeks because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic. The unemployment rate increased from 4.4% in March 2020 to 14.8% in April 2020, achieving levels not seen since the 1930s.

The impacts of COVID-19 were experienced across the nation, as every state in the United States experienced a higher unemployment rate than what was recorded during the Great Recession. However, unemployment rates disproportionally impacted different sectors:

  • Financial Activities: The unemployment rate in May 2020 was 5.7%, while the unemployment rate in July 2021 had improved to 3.0%.
  • Leisure and Hospitality: The unemployment rate in April 2020 was 39.3%, while the unemployment rate in July 2021 had improved to 9.0%.
  • Wholesale and Retail: The unemployment rate in April 2020 was 17.1%, while the unemployment rate in July 2021 had improved to 6.0%.

President’s Council On Jobs And Competitiveness

Industries With The Highest Rate Of Unemployment

President Obama established the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in 2009. The Council released an interim report with a series of recommendations in October 2011. The report included five major initiatives to increase employment while improving competitiveness:

  • Measures to accelerate investment into job-rich projects in infrastructure and energy development
  • A comprehensive drive to ignite entrepreneurship and accelerate the number and scale of young, small businesses and high-growth firms that produce an outsized share of America’s new jobs
  • A national investment initiative to boost jobs-creating inward investment in the United States, both from global firms headquartered elsewhere and from multinational corporations headquartered here
  • Ideas to simplify regulatory review and streamline project approvals to accelerate jobs and growth and,
  • Steps to ensure America has the talent in place to fill existing job openings as well as to boost future job creation.
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    What Year Was The Unemployment Rate 25 %

    The first statistic for demonstrating the decline of the economy into depression is the unemployment rate. As the above graph indicates the economy descended from full employment in in 1929 where the unemployment rate was 3.2 percent into massive unemployment in 1933 when the unemployment rate reached 25 percent.

    Unemployment Rate Soars To 147 Percent Highest Level Since The Great Depression

    The U.S. economy lost an unprecedented 20.5 million jobs in April, shattering all previous records and hitting the highest level since the Great Depression.

    The unemployment rate soared to 14.7 percent, up from 4.4 percent in March after months at a half-century low, according to the monthly employment report, released Friday by the Department of Labor.

    In just over a month, the coronavirus has wiped out all job gains since the Great Recession and brought the country’s decade-long record economic growth streak to an abrupt halt.

    This is the biggest and most acute shock that weve seen in post-war history, said Michelle Meyer, head of U.S. economics at Bank of America.

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    Comparison Of Employment Recovery Across Recessions And Financial Crises

    One method of analyzing the impact of recessions on employment is to measure the period of time it takes to return to the pre-recession employment peak. By this measure, the 20082009 recession was considerably worse than the five other U.S. recessions from 1970 to present. By May 2013, U.S. employment had reached 98% of its pre-recession peak after approximately 60 months. Employment recovery following a combined recession and financial crisis tends to be much longer than a typical recession. For example, it took Norway 8.5 years to return to its pre-recession peak employment after its 1987 financial crisis and it took Sweden 17.8 years after its 1991 financial crisis. The U.S. is recovering considerably faster than either of these countries.

    Thats A Tragedy Isnt It

    US unemployment rate hits 14.7 percent, highest since Great Depression

    I have a friend who was left without a job when the pandemic started. He was working some 3+ years in his company as a Hotel Front Desk. Thank God to him, he could get some unemployment benefits for 3 months, about 75% of his salary

    From another perspective, I could have seen how this impacted him, because he had to move to a new apartment as well, because the old one was not to afford any more. During the 3 months he was supported by the government he needed to arrange a couple of extra loans to get financially over this time.

    Trust me, it was not very comfortable during that period for me.

    Now, when the highest crisis is slowly getting down, hotels are opening their doors he had a hope to get a proper job once again.

    Unfortunately, the hotels are not anymore willing to pay the salaries they were, and they are keen on getting employed people with more expertise.

    So my friend had to take a bad paid job as a room attendant. He is 36. He has to do some ridiculously underpaid job, he would soon or later hate. He is also afraid of what will come.

    He had no mortgage, no leasing, no huge debts. Imagine if someone with those payments to be done would face the same as my friend.

    Imagine, that it will happen in other countries where the support from the government is not so beneficial or the outbreak will take a longer time and so the market to recover.

    The perspective for many employed people isnt really bright.

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