Unemployment Rates

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All the unemployment rates published by Bureau of Labor Statistics in an interactive visualization.

Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes many statistics about employment and unemployment. Besides the “main” unemployment number that is widely used, BLS publishes five other rates.

First, BLS defines unemployed persons:

Persons are classified as unemployed if they do not have a job, have actively looked for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work. Persons who were not working and were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been temporarily laid off are also included as unemployed. Receiving benefits from the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program has no bearing on whether a person is classified as unemployed. The unemployment rate represents the number unemployed as a percent of the labor force. (See Labor Force Characteristics.)

Since the unemployment rate is based on the size of the labor force, here is how BLS defines that: “The labor force is the sum of employed and unemployed persons.”

The statistics are computed monthly based on surveys of households and persons. See How the Government Measures Unemployment.

Here are the definitions of the unemployment rates:

UNRATE: Unemployment Rate, Percent, Monthly, Seasonally Adjusted. This is the most commonly used number.

U-1: Percent of Civilian Labor Force Unemployed 15 Weeks and over (U-1), Percent, Monthly, Seasonally Adjusted

U-2: Unemployment Rate – Job Losers (U-2), Percent, Monthly, Seasonally Adjusted

U-4: Total Unemployed Plus Discouraged Workers, as a Percent of the Civilian Labor Force Plus Discouraged Workers (U-4), Percent, Monthly, Seasonally Adjusted

U-5: Total Unemployed, Plus Discouraged Workers, Plus All Other Persons Marginally Attached to the Labor Force, as a Percent of the Civilian Labor Force Plus All Persons Marginally Attached to the Labor Force (U-5), Percent, Monthly, Seasonally Adjusted

U-6: Total Unemployed, Plus All Persons Marginally Attached to the Labor Force, Plus Total Employed Part Time for Economic Reasons, as a Percent of the Civilian Labor Force Plus All Persons Marginally Attached to the Labor Force (U-6), Percent, Monthly, Seasonally Adjusted

(See Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization.)

BLS presents some of these series classified by age, gender, race, etc. The numbers in this visualization are for all workers.

To use this interactive visualization, click here.

Following, an example from the visualization.


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