Unemployment by the Numbers

By Christopher S. Rugaber -- AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) — How bad is the current recession? Here's one measure: the United States now has fewer jobs than it did nine years ago, even though the work force — the number of people either working or looking for work — has grown by 12.5 million people since then.

It's the first time since the Great Depression that a recession has wiped out all the jobs created during the previous business cycle, according to Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank.

That's a "testament to both the enormity of the current crisis and to the extreme weakness of jobs growth from 2000 to 2007," Shierholz said.

The Labor Department said Thursday that U.S. payrolls shrank by 467,000 in June, more than analysts expected. That pushed the unemployment rate up to 9.5 percent, a 26-year high.

There are now 131.7 million jobs in the United States, the department said. That's fewer than in May 2000, when companies reported 131.9 million jobs.

In the most recent business cycle — from the beginning of the last recession in March 2001 until the beginning of the current recession in December 2007 — the economy created about 5.7 million jobs.

But so far, more than 6.5 million jobs have been lost in the current recession. Meanwhile, the total work force grew from 142.4 million in May 2000 to 154.9 people in June 2009, according to Labor Department data.

Here are some other interesting details that can be found in the monthly employment report.

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14.7 million: People unemployed in June 2009, the most ever in records dating to 1948

12.1 million: People unemployed in December 1982, the record before the current downturn

9.5 percent: Unemployment rate in June 2009

August 1983: Last time the unemployment rate was this high.

10.8 percent: Unemployment rate in December 1982, the highest since World War II

Jobless for Months

29 percent: The proportion of the unemployed who've been out of work six months or longer, a record

24.5 weeks: The average length of unemployment in June, also a record

4.38 million: The number of people unemployed for 27 weeks or longer

1.32 million: The number unemployed for that long in December 2007, when the recession began

Government Jobs Aren't So Safe

49,000: Jobs cut by federal government, partly due to layoff of temporary census workers

4,000: Jobs cut by state governments

1,000: Jobs added by local governments

Where the Jobs Are

34,000: Jobs added in the education and health services industries, the only one of seven broad categories to add jobs


8.9 million: Number of part-time workers who would have preferred full-time work last month

2.17 million: People without jobs who wanted to work, were available and had looked in the last 12 months, but had not looked in the last month.

16.5 percent: Unemployment rate if you include involuntary part-time workers and those without jobs who hadn't looked for work in 12 months — the highest in records dating to 1994

June Unemployment Rate By Group

10 percent: Adult men

7.6 percent: Adult women

11.7 percent: Female heads of households

8.2 percent: Asians

8.6 percent: Whites

12.2 percent: Hispanics

14.7 percent: Blacks

24 percent: Teenagers

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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