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Friday, February 04, 2011

Duration of Unemployment, Unemployment by Education, Diffusion Indexes

by Calculated Risk on 2/04/2011 04:12:00 PM

By request, here are three more graphs ...

Duration of Unemployment

Unemployment Duration Click on graph for larger image in graph gallery.

This graph shows the duration of unemployment as a percent of the civilian labor force. The graph shows the number of unemployed in four categories: less than 5 week, 6 to 14 weeks, 15 to 26 weeks, and 27 weeks or more.

Note: The BLS reports 15+ weeks, so the 15 to 26 weeks number was calculated.

In January 2011, the number of unemployed for 27 weeks or more declined to 6.21 million (seasonally adjusted). It appears the number of long term unemployed has peaked, but it is still very difficult for these people to find a job - and this is a very serious employment issue.

Both the 'less than 5 weeks', and the '5 to 14 weeks' categories declined in January - this followed the decline in initial weekly unemployment claims. The '15 to 26 weeks' category increased slightly in January, but the general trend appears to be down too.

Note: Even though these numbers are all seasonally adjusted, they can't be added together to calculate the unemployment rate.

Unemployment by Education

Unemployment by Level of EducationThis graph shows the unemployment rate by four levels of education (all groups are 25 years and older).

Unfortunately this data only goes back to 1992 and only includes one previous recession (the stock / tech bust in 2001). Clearly education matters with regards to the unemployment rate - and it appears all four groups are now trending down (at least somewhat).

Early last year the group with "less than a high school diploma" recovered a little better than the more educated groups - possibly because of the tax credit related increase in construction - but that changed in September as the unemployment rate increased sharply.

Diffusion Indexes

Employment Diffusion Index This is a little more technical. The BLS diffusion index for total private employment was at 59.4 in January. For manufacturing, the diffusion index increased to 69.1.

Think of this as a measure of how widespread job gains are across industries. The further from 50 (above or below), the more widespread the job losses or gains reported by the BLS. From the BLS:
Figures are the percent of industries with employment increasing plus one-half of the industries with unchanged employment, where 50 percent indicates an equal balance between industries with increasing and decreasing employment.
The decrease in these indexes during the summer of 2010 was a cause for concern, however the level of both indexes were a clear positive in the January employment report.

Best to all

Here are the earlier employment posts (with graphs):
January Employment Report: 36,000 Jobs, 9.0% Unemployment Rate
Employment Summary and Part Time Workers, Unemployed over 26 Weeks
• Daily Color: Two Employment Surveys, Different Results
Employment Graph Gallery