Unemployment 7.6%

Direct download here (pdf 194.9kb).

  • Highest rate of unemployment since September 1992, which was also 7.6%.
  • The last unemployment peak was 7.8% in June 1992.
  • The last time unemployment reached 8.0% was January 1984.
  • The postwar unemployment peak was 10.8% in November and December 1982.
  • Unemployment has increased from 4.9% in January 2008 to 7.6% in January 2009. That's a 250 basis point year-on-year increase. The last time that happened was between October 1981 and October 1982, when unemployment increased from 7.9% to 10.4% - 250 basis points. It should be noted that such a movement in the unemployment rate over a 12 month period is more damaging if the original level was low. This means that the current increase is more damaging than the 1981-82 increase. Source.
  • A 390 basis point increase occurred between May 1974 (5.1%) and May 1975 (9.0%).
  • Reuters says that the 598,000 increase is the worst in 34 years (1975).


JD Walters said...

There's also the problem that these people being laid off are finding it increasingly difficult to get another job:


I feel so bad for them. Most of these people have worked at their jobs for many years.

BLBeamer said...

I have been on both the hiring and firing end of this cycle as an employer. Two years ago, I was trying to fill three positions. Six of eight candidates rejected my offer because I refused to meet their ridiculously high salary counter offers.

Now that the labor market is in surplus, how many of them would accept my offer at a lower salary than I originally offered?

I am not confident that Pres. Obama, the Congress and the media are able or willing to accept the fact that when a market is in surplus, prices must go down to clear it.

If Congress were to ease payroll taxes and other barriers like too high minimum wage laws, it would help a great deal to put more folks back to work, particularly those with the fewest options.