40 Years of Unemployment Rates in One GIF

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

National Journal
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Matt Vasilogambros
June 12, 2014, 9:47 a.m.

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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.