Unemployment in the United States

Unemployment Overview

Unemployment is defined as persons in a specific country failing to have stable jobs and income. High unemployment rates are a clear indicator of a weak economy, and vice versa. Unemployment rates in a given country reduce during times of economic success and strengthening, and rise during times of economic downturn. The United States is classified as a developed country, although a significant portion of its population remains unemployed. With the global financial crisis in 2007, the country's jobless rate reached an all-time high. Nonetheless, the unemployment rate has since dropped dramatically, thanks to policies implemented by the United States Federal Reserve (the Fed). One of the main agendas of the U.S. government is job creation, and this is focused on ensuring that there is a reduction in the cases of unemployment across the country. This paper primarily focuses on unemployment rates across the U.S.


U.S economy-History

The US has enjoyed steady economic growth in the past five decades compared to other countries across the globe. The period after the World War II saw a strengthening in the country's economy and this also helped in improving the living standards of the people. This period of economic expansion after the World War II is referred to as the Golden Age of Capitalism (Gordon 73). The economic expansion was witnessed across the U.S., Western European countries, and Eastern Asian countries. Economic expansion across the U.S. in the 60s and 70s was manifested through suburban developments and urban sprawl. There was also an increase in car ownership (Gillespie Web). It should, however, be noted that, despite the economic growth in these countries, their joy came with the Crumbling of the Bretton Woods monetary system in 1971, the oil crisis of 1973, and the stock market crash of 1973 that ended up to recessions in the 1970s. With the recession, most of the countries that had been on the rise in terms of economic growth were reduced back to the gutters, with their economies crumbling (Gillespie Web). The U.S., however, remained steadfast, due to the monetary policies that it had implemented a few years before the recession.

Unemployment Overview

Unemployment, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, is defined as persons that don't have a job, have looked for a job four weeks prior and are currently available for work. It also defines unemployment as those workers that expect to be recalled after being laid off. The unemployment rate in the U.S. has historically ranged from 1% during World War 1 to as high as 25.7% during the Great Depression in the 1920s. In the unemployment rates also reached 10.2 in 1982 and 10.0% during the recent global financial crisis of 2007 (Mutikani Web). From 1948 to 2008, the average unemployment rate was represented by 5.8% a clear indication that the country's economy has in the past five years been stable despite the economic cycles such as recessions bubble bursts in 2001 and 2007. During President Obama's administration, the private sector added a total of 10 million jobs, and this was instrumental in reducing the unemployment rates that had reached their peak, especially with the financial crisis of 2007-2009. It should, however, be noted that, during President Clinton's two terms, more than 20 million jobs were created, and this was a major achievement.

The unemployment rate rose from 5.0% to 10.0% in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis that the U.S. was a major victim, but decreased to 4.7% in May 2016. The U.S. added 12.4 million jobs from October 2010 to November 2015, and this averaged 203,000. Job creation in the year ending 2014 was the best since 1999, with the economy adding 2.225 million private sector jobs, and 2.285 million total jobs (Gillespie Web). The government employment in the year ending 2015 was represented by 22.0 million, and this was attributed to the strengthening economy that was being witnessed across the U.S. After the election of Donald Trump, the unemployment rates, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics declined from 4.8% in January 2017 to 4.3% in May 2017. Donald Trump has been credited for an enhancement in the country's job market performance. When took office; the country gained 522,000 jobs. The decline in the unemployment rates has been attributed to the monetary policies implemented by the Federal Reserve and the creation of jobs by the Trump's administration (Mutikani Web). America added a solid 211,000 jobs in April, and this was significantly higher the 79,000 jobs that were created by the Obama administration during the same period in 2016. The wage rates grew 2.5% in April 2017, and this implies that the number of those that are categorized as unemployed will soon go below 4.3%. The reduction in the unemployment rates across the U.S. is a clear indication of its efforts in dealing with poverty especially after the Great Recession in 2009.

The unemployment rates across the U.S. are mainly felt by the African Americans. The period from 2007 to 2010 marked an increase in the unemployment rates among African Americans. The rates of unemployed rose from 7.6% in August 2007 to highs of 17.6% in January 2010. The increase in the unemployment rates was attributed to the increase in the number of employees that were rendered jobless due to the closure and downsizing of firms across the country (Gillespie Web). The unemployment rate among African Americans dropped to 8.6% as at the end of May 2016. The unemployment rates among Latinos during the same period were represented by 5.5%, 12.9%, and 5.6%, respectively, while the rates among Asians were represented by 3.4%, 8.4%, and 3.9%. The white population has, in the past five years, experienced the lowest of the unemployment rates among the races in the country. The low unemployment rates among the white population are attributed to their high qualifications and aggressive nature. The working environment also favors the white population.

Historically, the unemployment rates across the U.S. have also been low among those groups with high educational levels. Based on the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rates for workers above the age of 25 years represented by 2.5%, college graduates were represented by 5.1%, and those with high school diplomas were represented by 7.1% (Mutikani Web). Among the various factors contributing to a reduction in the unemployment rates, one of them has been an increased in the admission rates into the educational systems. Increased education admission rates have ended up leading to improved job qualifications thus improved employment rates.

Caused by unemployment in the U.S

There are various factors contributing to unemployment across the U.S. One of the causes was the subprime mortgage crisis and resulting recession of 2007-2009, and the country has since struggled to come out of the severe effects on the employment rates by the financial crisis. The advancement in the levels of technology has also contributed significantly to some workers being laid off from their jobs thus leading to an addition of those unemployed in the country (Gordon 56-67). International trade has also resulted in a sizeable trade deficit, and this has ended up negatively impacting job creation in the country. Finally, the high immigration rates have made it hard for the government to easily create jobs that will satisfy the ever-swelling population (Gordon 56-67).


Based on the above argument, it is clear that the U.S. has, in the past five years, improved its employment records, and this is to say that unemployment rates have significantly dropped. With the 4.3% current unemployment rate and the strengthened economy, it is believed that the unemployment rates will keep reducing in the coming years.

Work Cited

Gillespie, Patrick. "April Jobs Report: US Unemployment Hits 4.4%, Lowest In A Decade". CNNMoney. N.p., 2017. Web. 24 June 2017.

Gordon, Robert J. Macroeconomics. Harlow, Essex: Pearson, 2014. Print.

Mutikani, Lucia. "U.S. Job Growth Slows; Unemployment Rate Drops To 4.3 Percent". Reuters. N.p., 2017. Web. 24 June 2017.

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