Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Different Way to Look At Unemployment

Unemployment Rate by Income Level 
On the left, unemployment rate as a percent (.1 = 10%, .2 = 20% and so on). 
On the bottom, income level (<20K = earning under $20,000 per year)

This graph tells a much more interesting—and stark—image of unemployment than the usual 10%  number you hear. Lower income levels are far more likely to be unemployed. In fact at the lowest income levels, under $20,000 per year, the unemployment rate is over 25%. That's almost the same as the average rate during the Great Depression.

We've been starting to think about how to offer job skills classes to the 300 people we hire each holiday at Zingerman's Mail Order. This picture makes that work even more urgent.

The graph is from a study by Andrew Sum and Ishwar Khatiwada, with Sheila Palma, of Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, funded by the Mott Foundation of Flint, MI.

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