Posts for Tag: state

Visualizing the scale of unemployment due to COVID-19 pandemic

Posted In: Unemployment
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The number of Americans who have recently filed for unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic is equal to the entire labor force of several states put together.

click on the button below to see a new set of states.

A record 16 million Americans just filed for unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic at the end of March and early April 2020. This is an amazingly large number of people and I wanted to visualize how many people this actually is. For context, the US Department of Labor statistics states that in February 2020 (before the pandemic hit the United State) there were 164.2 million workers in the Civilian Labor Force.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) site defines “Civilian Labor Force” as such:

    “The labor force includes all people age 16 and older who are classified as either employed and unemployed, as defined below. Conceptually, the labor force level is the number of people who are either working or actively looking for work.”

This basically means that approximately 10% of the entire workforce of people (both employed and unemployed in Feb 2020) are now out of a job. While 10% is a large, unprecedented number in our lifetimes, comparing these number to the size of the workforce in several states helps to provide more context. The visualization shows a random collection of states whose total labor force is equal to the latest unemployment numbers. If you click the button you can see a different set of states that have the same total labor force.

Predictions are that the number of unemployed will grow as the shutdowns and social distancing measures to contain the virus continue through April and into May. I will update this graph to reflect new numbers as they come out.

And we can only hope that people will be able to manage these tough economic times until we contain the virus and the economy rebounds.

Stay safe out there: stay away from people and wash your hands!

Sources and Tools:

Data on unemployment was obtained from the US Department of Labor website and labor force numbers by state are downloaded from the Bureau of Labor statistics. And the visualization was created using javascript and the open source leaflet javascript mapping library.

US city names