Many of us have been unemployed at some point in our adult lives. Whether it was the terrifying period between graduation and that first “real-world job,” an unexpected lay-off, or just an unconquerable need for change, unemployment can be incredibly taxing.
Although in the first few days or weeks it can be a good idea to try to enjoy the free time you do have, an extended period of unemployment can drag on, and drag your spirits down with it.
Unemployment remains a pretty big problem in the United States right now. Read on to find out just how much of a problem it is, who’s being affected, and what industries, demographics and regions are hardest hit.
Employment and Unemployment Stats:
Right now in the United States, about 14 million people are unemployed. Compared to the 9.8% rate of unemployment in 2009, we’re actually doing better currently at 9.1% unemployment, but the woes aren’t over.
The southwest and southeast corners of our country are the hardest hit, though the biggest changes in unemployment rates over the last year occurred in some of the northern central states and in the south.
Compared to some of the worst eras in our country’s financial history, a 9.1% rate of unemployment is not that problematic. It hit 23.6% in 1932, 21.7% in 1934, but then lowered for years. By the 40s it remained quite low until the 80s–1982 reached 9.7%, then lowered again in subsequent years back down to 5.5% by 1988.
In the year 2000 we reached a low not seen for decades–4.0%. But in the rest of the decade, the rate climbed slowly, until the jump between 2008 and 2009 from 5.8% to 9.3%, reaching 9.6% in 2010.
As of August 2011, there were 239,871,000 people in the civilian population who were not institutionalized. Of these, 153,594,000 made up the labor force: 139,627,000 employed, 13,967,000 unemployed. 86,278,000 were not in the labor force.
Those 16 and over were at an unemployment rate of 9.1%, with the highest percentage of that (25.4%) being teenagers. The next largest group was African Americans, at 16.7%.
Since most of America’s unemployed are those still of high school or college age, it follows that adults 25 and over are unemployed at a lower rate–7.8%. 11.3% of these do not have a high school diploma, while only 4.3% have a bachelor’s degree or more.
Reasons for Unemployment:
Nearly 8 million people in this country lost their jobs or finished a temporary job, landing them in unemployment. That’s 56.4% of unemployed people.
3,644,000 are re-entrants into the job market.
10.1%, or 1,411,000 unemployed people, are new entrants.
7.5%, or 973,000, left their jobs on their own.
Duration of Unemployment:
Most people–43.1%–have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more.
24.1% have been unemployed between 5 and 14 weeks, while 18.8% spent about a month or less unemployed.
14% endured joblessness for between 15 and 26 weeks.
Persons at Work Part-Time:
About 18% of the workforce in the United States is employed only part-time.
Of the 25,139,000 part-time workers, 8,604,000 of them are part-time for economic reasons. While 5,593,000 cite slack work conditions, 2,579,000 simply couldn’t find full-time work.
Persons with Multiple Jobs:
Most of the 4.7% of employed people with multiple jobs have one full-time and one part-time job. There are 6,649,000 multiple jobholders in the US, and 3,599,000 of them work this way.
The next most common division of time finds people holding two part-time jobs–1,692,000 multiple jobholders do this.
1,061,000 people say their hours vary on one or both of their jobs.
A small portion of people with multiple jobs (241,000) have multiple full-time jobs.
Employment by Selected Industry:
The industry with the greatest over-the-month change positively was Education and Health Services, with 32.7 hours worked weekly on average and $772.37 earned each week.
Information faced the most losses, though on average they work more and earn more–36.4 hours a week, $1,147.33 earned each week.
Employment by Educational Attainment:
Candidates with a bachelor’s degree or higher have the highest numbers of employed people–44,648,000. They also have the lowest rate of unemployment, at 4.6%.
The highest numbers of unemployment are high school grads with no college degrees, though a greater percentage of people with less than a high school diploma are unemployed.
Those with less than a diploma also make up the smallest amount of the employed population, at just over 10 million.
Employment by Veteran Status:
7.7% of veterans over 18 are unemployed. That’s 877,000, compared to 10,497,000 employed veterans.
Gulf War Era II veterans are suffering the highest rate of unemployment among vets, at 9.8% or 192,000 unemployed. That’s compared to 1,759,000 who are employed.
Vets of WWII, the Korean War or Vietnam have the highest rate of employment, at 3,094,000 employed. Just 6.9% or 258,000 of these vets are unemployed.
Employment by Gender and Nativity:
Foreign-born women ages 16 and older suffer the highest rate of unemployment, at 9.6%, while foreign-born men ages 16 and older have the lowest rate of unemployment at 7.8%. This is lower than any category of native-born men and women.
Of course, it’s vital to note that the foreign-born workforce is comprised of just over 2 million individuals, while the native-born workers are nearly 12 million.
If you’re unemployed or facing unemployment, chances are you know others going through the same thing. Arm yourself with these stats, keep your chin up and take the workforce by storm!