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40 Years of Unemployment Rates in One GIF 40 Years of Unemployment Rates in One GIF

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40 Years of Unemployment Rates in One GIF

Watch the unemployment rate ebb and flow over the course of six presidencies.

A new GIF from online brokerage firm Movoto Real Estate reveals the ebb and flow of unemployment in each state in the last 40 years. The lighter the shade, the lower the unemployment rate.


The firm created more than 400 different maps using Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly data on individual state unemployment rates. The GIF shows the general health of the American workforce spanning six presidencies. 

The map is darkest at a few notable points in recent history: In 1982, during President Reagan's first term in office, when the national unemployment rate hit 10.8 percent; the very end of President George W. Bush's second term, marking the start of the Great Recession; and President Obama's first term, during which the rate peaked at 9.6 percent.

During much of the Clinton presidency and the latter half of the Reagan presidency, national unemployment remained low.


On Friday, the BLS released its latest job numbers for May, showing the unemployment rate unchanged at 6.3 percent. Although the unemployment rate continues to fall nationwide, most states still have higher unemployment rates than just before the 2008 recession. A new chart from The New York Times shows that only Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, and Vermont have either the same or lower unemployment rates five years later.

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