The Unemployment Rate Peak

Kylie Rusco, Staff Writer

COVID-19 has brought many struggles to everyone’s world but the U.S unemployment rate just hit a peak, it has never been this high since the start of data collection.

The unemployment rate peaked at a crazy level, in April 2020 (14.8%) before declining to a steady but elevated level in December (6.7%). Before the pandemic got worse in the United States the unemployment rate was below 4%.

Graph of unemployment rate in the U.S since 2000

Certain industries are struggling more than others. Workers whose last job was in the hospitality industry experienced a higher peak in unemployment (39.3% in April 2020) than workers who were previously employed in any other industry. They also had the highest unemployment rate in December 2020 (16.7%). The elevated unemployment rates are not constrained to industries providing in-person services. Workers whose job was in the mining or extraction industry have experienced steadily increasing unemployment since the start of the recession.

Part-time workers experienced a higher unemployment rate (24.5% in April 2020) than full-time workers (12.9% in April). As the unemployment rate for part-time workers in December 2020 (7.0%) roughly equals the unemployment rate for full-time workers (6.7%). There are a few reasons why part-time workers are losing their jobs more often. First there is a gap between full- and part-time workers because workers with part-time jobs are leaving the labor force. It is undecided whether that is the case. Additionally workers who normally would be working full-time may be working part-time for an economic reason.

This recession is hurting the economy as well as families all across the country. As the unemployment rate gets higher so will the poverty rate. Do anything you can in your community to help someone who needs it.