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The Unemployment Rate In Every State, Before And After The Great Recession

It's been five years since the recession ended, and the unemployment rate in most states is still higher than it used to be.

Here's a state-by-state look at how unemployment in the years before the recession compares with unemployment now.

A few striking things about the graph:

  • Even before the recession, there was a huge range in unemployment rates among states.
  • Most of the dozen states that have seen their unemployment rates fall since before the recession have benefited from the recent boom in the oil and gas business.
  • Many of the states where the unemployment rate is much higher than it was before the recession were particularly hard hit by the housing bust. (While Georgia was not home to an especially large housing bubble, the state did rely heavily on construction jobs during the boom.)
  • Caveat: The unemployment rate, as you probably know already, doesn't tell the whole story of what's happening in the labor market. It only counts people who are working or actively looking for a job. It doesn't count those who have given up looking for work, or who have retired. And the share of adults actively looking for work has fallen since the recession.

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