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by SixFigureStart | November 06, 2009


It's official: we're now at the highest unemployment rate in more than a quarter of a century. A whopping 10.2 percent of the active job-seeking population of the country are out of work—the highest number since 1983. U.S. job losses in the recession so far are running at 7.3 million, according to MarketWatch—a number so high that if all those people banded together and formed a country (the Republic of Redundantania?), it would sneak into the 100 biggest list, right behind Israel. And there's worse news: at the rate it's going, it's probably the fastest-growing country in the world.

Check out these figures, courtesy of the BLS--they're the average unemployment rates. Note 1983—the last time unemployment topped 10 percent—and its yearly average of 9.6 percent. Note also that the average was higher in 1982, and remained higher than what we've come to accept as "normal" between 1980 and 1987.

Now: compare that to the averages for the last ten years, and consider that we started 2009 with 7.6 percent unemployment and have steadily increased since, putting us on track for an enormous average increase when all the figures are in this year. What chance that the decline will be as swift as the spike? Less than 10.2, I'd wager.

--Posted by Phil Stott,


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