Meltdown 101: A look at U.S. unemployment by the numbers

Associated Press | 2/11/2009, 4:33 a.m.

• 20.8 percent: Teenagers

Laid-off workers

• 6.98 million: Unemployed in January 2009 who were laid off or completed temp jobs.
• 3.79 million: The same figure in January 2008.

Jobs harder to find

• 22.4 percent: Share of unemployed in January who’ve been looking for 27 weeks or longer
• 18.1 percent: The same figure in January 2008, one month into the recession.
• 22.8 percent: The share in June 2003, when the unemployment rate peaked after the last recession.

Snapshots of January’s unemployed

• 2.75 million: People who were trying to re-enter the workforce after leaving work for reasons such as parenthood or retirement.
• 2.1 million: People who wanted to work, were available for work and had looked for work in the last 12 months, but had not looked in the last month.
• 7.8 million: People working part-time because of slow work or business conditions.

Who’s surveyed

• 60,000: Number of households interviewed in the monthly Census Bureau survey from which the unemployment rate is extrapolated.
• 40 percent: Portion of companies in the survey of businesses, from which payroll and job loss numbers are extrapolated, with fewer than 20 employees.

Local highs and lows

• 22.6 percent: Unemployment rate for El Centro, Calif., in December — the most recent month for which a local figure is available.
• 2.7 percent: December rate for Morgantown, W.Va.

(Associated Press)