Department of Numbers

Updated Metrics

Posted Friday, September 11 2009

I've added more unemployment duration data to the site. A portion of this data used to reside on the alternative unemployment measures page, but as I broke out more of the BLS' A-9 table it became apparent that the duration data deserved a home of it's own. I was already publishing the average and median unemployment duration and I've now added the fraction of unemployed by duration of unemployment. For example, in August, 47.8% of those unemployed have been unemployed for less than 15 weeks and thus 52.2% of of the unemployed have been unemployed for more than 15 weeks. This is noteworthy because this recession marks the first time that the fraction of people unemployed more than 15 weeks has exceeded 50%. The previous high was 41.1% in 1983. The last section on the duration page simply breaks the unemployment periods into more granular segments. As you can see, the longest period (greater than 33 weeks) is where most of those unemployed live right now.

Speaking of alternative measures of unemployment, that page has been updated as well. I added U-4 (which includes discouraged workers) to the labor underutilization metrics for completeness. All of the broader unemployment rates defined by the BLS are now included on the page.

Finally, I separated out demographic data from the main unemployment rate page. Seemed appropriate.