Unemployment in the US



Top Findings 

  1. Within the last decade (2005 - 2015), unemployment was at an all-time low in 2006 and 2007 when the annual average unemployment rate was 4.6%.
  2. For the first half 2015 year, the unemployment rate (6.2%) has been relatively low compared to the annual average of 2014.
  3. West Virginia and the Distribute of Columbia had the highest unemployment rates in June 2015––7.4% and 7% respectively. 
  4. North Dakota (3.1%) and Nebraska (2.1%) had the lowest unemployment rates.


Unemployment (2005-2015)

Unemployment in the United States has gone through various stages over the past decade. Just this month, on July 2015, the U.S. economy added over 200,000 jobs––leaving the unemployment rate at a consistent 5.3%. These relatively hopeful figures are a drastic change from the those that were maintained during the 2007 - 2009 economic recession. 


This Silk seeks to explore the issue of unemployment in the U.S. during the past decade, 2005- 2015, by using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

Annual Average of Unemployment, in percentages. (2005-2014)

Percentage Annual Average of Unemployment. (2005-2014)

Annual Average of Unemployment, in numbers. (2005-2013)

Total Average Annual Number of Unemployed Persons. (2005-2014)





Within the last decade (2005 - 2015), unemployment was at an all-time low in 2006 and 2007 when the annual average unemployment rate was 4.6%. As expected, the annual average unemployment rate sharply increased during the recession; at its peak in 2010, the annual average unemployment rate was 9.6%. Following the recession, the annual average unemployment rate gradually decreased and as of 2014 the unemployment rate was 6.2%. 











Unlike the percentages above, these figures provide a clearer picture of the average actual number of persons who were unemployed since 2005. 

Reason of Unemployment

Total Annual Number of Unemployed Persons, by Reason of Unemployment. (2005-2014)



The Bureau of Labor Statistics only shows data for reason of unemployment by month. The Silk team calculated the average annual number of respondents for each reason listed in the graph.

In terms of reason for unemployment, the majority of respondents that were jobless were either job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs or a part of a broad category of “all other job losers.” As indicated in the graph, few employees cited quitting their job as a reason for their unemployment. 

Further, between 2005 - 2010, the total number of respondents who cited layoffs as the reason for their unemployment increased sharply before gradually decreasing in 2011. This is in sharp contrast to new entrance, whose unemployment increased since 2005. 

Unemployment in 2015

Annual Average of Unemployment, in percentages. (2015)

Percentage Annual Average of Unemployment. (January - June 2015)

Total Number Average of Unemployment, in numbers. (2015)

Total Average Annual Number of Unemployed Persons. (January - June 2015)





For the first half 2015 year, the unemployment rate has been relatively low compared to the annual average of the previous year––6.2%. Since January 2015, the unemployment rate has been decreasing. A project shows that the unemployment rate will remain steady at 5.3% in July as well.

Preliminary Unemployment State Statistics. (2015)

Preliminary State Unemployment Rates. (June 2015)







This is a preliminary map of state unemployment rates in June 2015. As indicated by the map, West Virginia and the Distribute of Columbia had the highest unemployment rates in June 2015––7.4% and 7% respectively. On the other hand, both North Dakota (3.1%) and Nebraska (2.1%) had the lowest unemployment rates.

Over-the-Year Change in Unemployment Rate for States. (2014-2015)

Over-the-Year Change in Unemployment Rate for States






A state-by-state comparison of the over-the-year change between June 2014 and 2015 shows that many states had a lower unemployment rate this year, compared to the previous year. Exceptions, however, include Louisiana, South Carolina, and West Virginia. 

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Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics