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How Unemployment Rates Differ from Great Recession Peaks

by Willem Roper

Unemployment rates dipped back down for the month of May, signaling a recovery may be in sight if businesses can remain open across the U.S. despite no vaccine yet available for COVID-19. While the unemployment rate did go down, its still well above the peak experienced during the Great Recession in 2009 and 2010.

In April, the U.S. unemployment rate reached nearly 15 percent – a number unheard of since the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Despite falling back down to around 13 percent, that number is still far higher than the peak unemployment rate of 10 percent experienced during the Great Recession.

In terms of unemployment, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent business closures are affecting demographics differently than during the Great Recession. For instance, many more women have lost their job due to the pandemic in 2020 then during the financial crash in 2009 and 2010. Among women losing their jobs in 2020, many more black, Hispanic and Asian women have lost their jobs compared to 2009 and 2010.

Overall, the unemployment rate during the COVID-19 pandemic has risen higher in three months than it ever did during the two main years of the Great Recession. Some experts suggest the unemployment rate could be higher if it weren’t for the ability for much of the workforce to work remotely – a technology that was largely absent in 2009 and 2010.


Infographic: How Unemployment Rates Differ from Great Recession Peaks | Statista You will find more infographics at Statista

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