View Unemployment Rate Since 1948 (hover mouse over graphs to view details)
The number of unemployed as a percent of the labor force. 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. These unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted. See how the government measures unemployment.
This graph gives perspective to the difficulty of the current labor recovery. The peaks in this graph indicate the peaks of unemployment during past recessions. The unemployment peak of the recent “great recession” is higher than all past recessions since 1948, except for 1982. The width of the current peak indicates a prolonged labor recovery. The current unemployment rate is still at or above the peaks of unemployment of most of the recessions since 1948.