Friday, August 7, 2009
Chart of the Day
Today, the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate actually decreased from 9.5% to 9.4% during July. This is the first decrease in the unemployment rate since April 2008. For some perspective on the current state of the labor market, today's chart illustrates the unemployment rate since 1948. Despite this month's encouraging decline, there was only one general period in the post-World War II era during which the unemployment rate was higher than the current rate of 9.4% (i.e. June 1982 - June 1983). It is worth noting, however, that a one-month decline in the unemployment rate (even a small decline) after a significant spike (i.e. the unemployment rate spikes by 1.5 percentage points or more) has tended to occur slightly after a recession had ended.