How to understand the unemployment numbers

A slight fall in the number of new jobless claims has thrilled Wall Street. This is great news, and as I wrote in a long economic story a couple of weeks ago, there is reason to think a recovery is on the way. 

But for perspective, lets look at the unemployment numbers geographically, courtesy of Derek Thompson at The Atlantic

— Payrolls have shed the equivalent of Virginia since the recession started in December 2007.
— The entire populations of Virginia, Colorado, and Rhode Island are unemployed.
— The entire metro areas of Chicago and Los Angeles have been unemployed for six months or more.
— The entire metro area of New York City is working part time for economic reasons.
— The whole of Kentucky has left the labor force since the start of the recession.
— The workweek population of Washington, D.C., has given up looking for work.

Or, for the stats-impaired, a visual representation

Economix-04jobsreport-custom1
Or, to put it in Dilbert's charmingly despairing way:

114409.strip

Published by Kit Stolz

I'm a freelance reporter and writer based in Ventura County.

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