Thursday, February 24, 2011

2010 Utah Employment/Unemployment Characteristics Now Available

Every wonder where the national unemployment rate comes from? The Current Population Survey. In addition, the Current Population Survey provides characteristics and information about the nation's labor force and (to a limited degree) about the state's labor force. Preliminary Utah data from the 2010 Current Population Survey is now available on the Bureau of Labor Statistics website. The recently released survey data for Utah provides unemployment rates for various genders, ethnic/racial groups, and ages--see the chart.

Call me a data geek, but I find these rates fascinating. For example, when the economy is expanding (most of the time), men typically experience lower rates of unemployment than do women. But, during the recent recession, the jobless rate for men measured notably higher than the female unemployment rate. Although some pundits think this phenomena is unique to this recession, they are wrong. It's just business as usual for a an economic contraction. Why? Industries which are hardest hit during an economic downturn generally employ a larger proportion of men.

You'll also notice that jobless rates are higher for Utah's largest minority group--Hispanics/Latinos than for the white/NonHispanic majority. Incidentally, jobless rates for Latino men (16.4 percent) measured almost 10 percentage points higher than for Latinas (6.7 percent).

The data indicate that the younger you are, the more likely you are to be unemployed. Teenagers showed a whopping 20.5 percent unemployment rate. On the other hand, the unemployment rate for 20-24 year-olds actually dropped between 2009 and 2010, while all other age groups experienced a rise in joblessness.

For more data about Utah's labor force from the Current Population Survey, click here.

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