Unemployment by the Numbers

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Here are some stats of interest to people who are without jobs, who live or know people who are without jobs, or who could be without jobs in the near future. Does that cover everybody?
6.8, 16.5 Percentages of unemployed Asian and African Americans, respectively, representing the high and low marks for various ethnic groups.

21 Percentage of workers who were unemployed last August and who had found work as of March 2010. And of those who had found employment, about half were only working part-time.

45.9 Percentage of unemployed who have been out of work for more than six months. That’s the highest such rate in at least six decades.

40, 200 Number of minutes per day the average unemployed American spends looking for work and watching TV, respectively, according to surveys.

80 Number of days set as a “speedy” new goal for the time it takes to hire a federal employee, starting when a vacancy is announced and ending when a person is hired. At some federal agencies, the bureaucratic hiring process has been known to take as long as 200 days.

14.1% As of March, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in Michigan, the state with the highest jobless rate per the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Michigan is followed by Nevada (13.4%), California and Rhode Island (both 12.6%), which, incidentally, are all better off than Puerto Rico (16.2%). The state with the lowest rate is North Dakota, which is experiencing an boom in oil jobs while also seeing a rise in homelessness. Why? With the influx of workers, it’s harder than ever to find a place to live.

$56,940 What a laid-off worker takes home in unemployment pay and benefits in Norway, or the world’s “best country to be unemployed” according to BusinessWeek. That number represents 72% of a Norwegian’s annual net salary when employed; unemployment benefits in the U.S., by contrast, average 28% of one’s former salary. (What is it with Norway, by the way? It’s also rated as the best country to be a mother.)

290,000 Number of jobs created in April, which is the most in four years but which includes 66,000 temps hired by the government to work on the census. Because more than 800,000 workers began looking for jobs again in April (apparently after taking some time off from the hunt because it seemed hopeless), the unemployment rate was 9.9%, up from 9.7% in March.

440,000 Number of initial claims for jobless benefits filed in the week ending May 8, which was down slightly from the week before. Over the past month or so, about 450,000 Americans per week have been filing for unemployment benefits for the first time.

1.9 million Number of U.S. employees who quit their jobs in March—a bit more than the 1.8 million workers who were laid off that month. The figures are being viewed as indications of an increasingly strong job market. Then again, it could also be a sign that there are a lot of really horrible jobs out there.

1.72 million Number of jobs that will be created by the end of 2010, if—and this is a big if—the current pace of job creation continues. As the National Journal notes, the country added 573,000 jobs from January through April, and that pace projects a year-end total of 1.72 million, which is more than the number of jobs created during the entire Bush presidency. But, as the NJ also notes, there’s no ignoring the fact that nearly 4 million jobs were lost during President Obama’s first year in office. Politics aside, we need all the freakin’ jobs possible.

Must-Read: ‘How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America’