Unemployment statistics have rarely been in as much of a spotlight as they are now. The coronavirus pandemic has caused cataclysmic drops in employment worldwide, making it a front-and-center point of concern for countless countries.

So, what’s the unemployment situation at the moment? What makes unemployment in general such a big problem?

That’s what we’ll be discussing in this article, in addition to many fascinating pieces of relevant data.

  • Massachusetts lost approximately 3,400 government jobs in November 2020.
  • Washington’s unemployment rate in the third quarter of 2020 was 13%.
  • Before 2020, the highest unemployment rate in the 21st-century United States was 9.6%.
  • In December 2020, the US lost 140,000 jobs.
  • In late 2020, 18% of households with children struggled with affording food.
  • From December 2007 to June 2009, the unemployment rate spiked from 5% to 9.5%.
  • 18-to-24 males in the US have an unemployment rate of 13.1%.
  • Burkina Faso’s 77% unemployment rate is the highest in the world.

A Look at Unemployment Statistics by States

Let’s start by inspecting some unemployment rate highlights across the US states. That should give us a solid perspective on employment issues and how to solve them.

1. The peak 2020 unemployment rate in Louisiana was 15.1%

A year before the coronavirus pandemic struck, Louisiana unemployment was quite stable, oscillating in the ballpark of 4-5% throughout 2019. However, the rate skyrocketed short after COVID-19 entered the scene.

According to the latest available data, the post-coronavirus Louisiana unemployment rate started ascending around February and blew up by April, peaking at a whopping 15.1%.

The rate has recovered a great deal, though, simmering down to around 8.3% by the end of 2020.

2. The unemployment rate in Arkansas is around 6.2%.

Whereas Louisiana struggled with maintaining a strong workforce, Arkansas has fared significantly better. The Arkansas unemployment is currently around 6.2%, which is, in fact, below the national average (6.7%).

3. In November 2020, Massachusetts lost about 3,400 government jobs.

When it comes to unemployment, Massachusetts has kept up in lockstep with the national coronavirus-time rate of 6.7%. While the state managed to add more workers to specific industries (such as transportation and utilities), government jobs took a hit at the end of 2020.

As the data indicates, Massachusetts had 3,400 fewer government jobs in November 2020, which amounts to 0.8% of the sector’s job pool.

4. Unemployment in California dipped by 0.8% to 8.2% near the end of 2020.

The California unemployment rate undulated quite a bit in 2020. The trend near the conclusion of 2020 was positive, though, with the rate dipping from 9% in October to 8.2% in November.

Nine out of the eleven prominent industries in California gained more jobs. Of these, Hospitality and Leisure were the biggest gainers, boosting their workforce by 27,800 jobs.

5. Throughout 2020, Florida’s unemployment rate dropped from 13.8% to 6.4%.

The Florida labor force took a hit following the economic shutdowns in the wake of COVID-19. By April 2020, the unemployment rate soared beyond 13%. However, the Florida unemployment rate made great strides toward recovery by 2021. By the beginning of 2021, the rate actually fell below the US average, slumping to 6.4%.

6. There are an estimated 1.129.600 unemployed work-ready people in Texas.

Back in November 2019, there were roughly 480,000 people in Texas that couldn’t find a job, and the number grew threefold a year later. Texas’ unemployment rate inflated to 8%, compared to 3.4% in 2019.

7. Michigan’s unemployment rate rose from 6.1% to 6.9% by the end of 2020.

The end of 2020 saw a relatively mild increase in the Michigan unemployment rate. In April of that year, the rate was 6.1%. However, it managed to increase to 6.9% as 2020 came to a close. This marked the first surge in unemployment since the aforementioned April figure.

8. The unemployment rate in New Jersey is 10.2%.

As of January 2021, the NJ unemployment rate is around 10%, showing growth from the prior months. That said, the state has regained many jobs overall since April 2020. There was a total of 485,700 jobs in the period between April 2020 and November of that year.

9. Washington’s third-quarter 2020 unemployment rate was 13%.

The Washington unemployment rate in the final quarter of 2020 was a rather high 13%. That marks a significant boost in unemployment, even when compared to the 10.9% benchmark from the previous quarter.

10. The highest unemployment rate in North Dakota during the second half of 2020 was 7.4%.

Compared to many other hard-hit states, North Dakota has fared relatively well with the economic shutdowns in terms of unemployment. North Dakota’s employment rate has done more or less well, with the unemployment rate hovering around the 5% mark.

The worst of it for North Dakota was in June 2020, wherein the rate rose to 7.4%. The state has been displaying a promising trend, though, seeing that the unemployment rate has dropped to around 4.5%.

11. 16.4% is the highest unemployment rate in all of Mississippi.

In terms of the unemployment rate, Mississippi has been enduring the situation admirably, sporting an average of 6%. But on a county level, the picture is far more varied. While there are counties with rates as low as 3.7%, not all have been as fortunate.

Jefferson County suffered the brunt of it, according to the stats. The unemployment rate there is a shocking 16.4%.

Unemployment Statistics by Year

Having reviewed the current unemployment situation, we can now contrast the above figures to some outliers from the past, both distant and recent.

12. The highest 21st-century unemployment rate in the United States before 2020 was 9.6%.

It’s more than clear that the economic repercussions of the coronavirus and the government’s response will be historic. Even at this point when we are just starting to feel the consequences, we can see record-breaking unemployment.

The highest US unemployment rate in this century (that being in 2010, as a result of the Great Recession) was 9.6%.

13. The highest unemployment rate in US history was 24.9%.

The unemployment rate in the US has fluctuated wildly through the decades. There were times of great stability, but history has seen periods of great austerity on the job front.

One such time was the Great Depression of the early 20th century. This was the time when the highest unemployment rate in US history was recorded — a shocking 24.9%.

Hopefully, this figure remains the record in the future.

14. The lowest ever unemployment rate in the United States was 1.2% in 1944.

The US unemployment in the mid-1940s was a period of staggering industrial growth for the country, characterized by amazing leaps in output volume, among other things. This growth also came with the lowest unemployment rate the country has ever seen. In 1944, the rate was an astounding 1.2%.

15. In December 2020, the US lost 140,000 jobs.

The United State unemployment statistics for December 2020 give us a slice of the unemployment picture in all its awfulness. In this month alone, the country lost as many as 140,00 jobs. According to official unemployment statistics, a whopping 242 of 389 metro areas contributed to this statistic.

16. During the Great Recession, the unemployment rate spiked from 5% to 9.5% from December 2007 to June 2009.

It’s vital that we don’t underestimate the severity of the current economic situation. By the looks of it, the United States, as well as the rest of the world, has difficult challenges in the near future.

For comparison, the unemployment rate statistics for the Great Recession peaked at 10% in October 2009. The most dramatic unemployment spike of this period was from 5% to 9.5%. Meanwhile, we’ve seen unemployment rates skyrocketed to 14.8% in 2020.

Other Fascinating Unemployment Statistics

17. 84.4% of African American women are either breadwinners or co-breadwinners.

Historically, the black unemployment rate has always lagged behind the average for a variety of socio-economic reasons. But the unemployment rates themselves aren’t the only curious pieces of data.

Namely, the black population in the United States has an anomalously high proportion of female breadwinners and co-breadwinners. Proportionally, this demographic has double the breadwinners compared to the white female population.

18. The unemployment rate for the 18-to-24 male demographic in the US is 13.1%.

The US unemployment statistics among male youth aged 18-24 is lower when compared to other countries. At 13.1%, it stands more or less neck-to-neck with Norway. Meanwhile, the female youth unemployment rate in the US is fairly similar to the male one (12%).

19. The veteran unemployment rate is at 5.4%.

The latest veteran unemployment statistics show that this demographic is finding work a bit easier. The data highlights a rate of 5.4%, which is a marked improvement from 6.3% from November 2020.

20. Globally, 13.8% of young people struggle with unemployment.

Looking at the current unemployment statistics, we can see that a considerable amount of young people can’t find a job. Overall, 13.8% of them struggle with unemployment. More precisely, 14.1% of young men have troubles with unemployment, while 13.2% of young women have the same issues.

21. At 77%, Burkina Faso has the highest unemployment rate in the world.

According to worldwide unemployment statistics, Burkina Faso is a standout in terms of high unemployment. Namely, this country’s rate is a massive 77%. Poverty and population shifts, among other factors, are significant elements that lead to its economic troubles.

An important fact to understand is that unemployment rates are not equal across all fields. This is particularly true in extraordinary circumstances, where specific types of jobs are hit harder than others.

Here’s an example. Current technological unemployment statistics reveal that unemployment for computer-related jobs, like information research scientist, hardware engineer, and information security analyst, actually decreased by 0.3% in mid-2020.

23. 46% of homeless people point to unemployment as the primary reason for their homelessness.

The issue of homelessness seems to have become exacerbated in recent years. Naturally, difficulties finding a job play a vital role in rendering and keeping people homeless. According to unemployment and homelessness statistics, around 46% of the homeless population claims that unemployment is the main reason why they are on the streets.

24. 18% of households with children reported struggling to afford food in late 2020.

As businesses shut down in droves, a lot of people struggle to put food on the table. The onset of this financial precarity affects the impoverished demographic the most, as the poverty and unemployment statistics prove. Moreover, households with children have an even harder time. Around 18% of them struggle to provide food for themselves, as opposed to 11% of households with no children.

25. The unemployment rate is expected to be 4.431% in 2025.

Considering all this worrying data you’ve seen in this article, this is actually good news. Apparently, unemployment statistics are quite optimistic — many experts forecast a drop in unemployment to 4.431% in 2025.

World and US Unemployment Statistics: Conclusion

There you have it; a compact, yet insightful perspective into the state of unemployment in the US and worldwide. Hopefully, after reading the official unemployment statistics we presented in this article, you’ve gotten a better understanding of the current unemployment situation, its past, and its future.

At the moment, the unemployment statistics look gloomy at best. The bulk of the trouble comes from the coronavirus outbreak and the way countries have responded to it. But as the pandemic wanes, there should be improvements in unemployment rates, assuming that the right policies are put in place.