Unemployment - Statistics & Facts

Unemployment - Statistics & Facts

Facts and statistics on Unemployment

Unemployment is defined as the part of the labor force that is without a job and has been seeking employment within the last four weeks. The extent to which unemployment occurs is usually measured by the unemployment rate. It is derived by simply dividing the number of unemployed people by the total labor force. The unemployment rate is a relative indicator independent of country size and thus facilitates cross-country comparisons.

Unemployment is subject to seasonal fluctuations. It is typically higher during the winter when construction work and other outdoor occupations are in low demand. That is why monthly unemployment statistics are often adjusted, based on these fluctuations, for the sake of comparability. The U.S. unemployment rate was at 5.3 percent in July 2015 and has declined during the past 12 months from 6.2 percent. Recent trends show the recovery of the job market, unemployment declined down from a peak of 7.3 percent in October 2013.

Unemployment figures in the U.S. vary dramatically from state to state. According to this state unemployment ranking by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment rates ranged from 2.7 percent in Nebraska to 7.5 percent in West Virginia in July 2015. The unemployment rate in California, the state with the largest GDP, was on rank nine among all U.S. states. Florida’s unemployment rate was above national average, while the unemployment rate of New York was also above it.

From an international perspective the U.S. unemployment rate is relatively low. The average unemployment rate in the European Union is almost twice as high as the average unemployment rate in the United States.

Picture: istockphoto.com / yuri_arcurs

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