Unemployment is a measure of the rate of the labor force that is jobless. It is a lagging indicator that generally increases or decreases with the rest of the economy. Unemployment is typically uneven spatially and among demographic groups. There can be significant seasonal variation in unemployment. It is important to understand how the unemployment rate has changed over time, whether there are periods of the year where the rate is lower or higher, and if seasonality of unemployment has changed over time.


The unemployment map displays the 2017 5-year unemployment rate for those sixteen years of age and older. This map uses long-term data that should only be used to identify areas of chronically higher unemployment and long-term trends. For the most recent unemployment rate, visit the BLS website directly. Selecting a region on the map will also provide the unemployment rate by age group.

Monthly unemployment allow visibility of seasonal trends in employment. Select county(ies) and year(s) of interest to assess trends over geography and time to make comparisons.

The charts below show employment change by number of jobs and percentage change in aggregated industries from 2010 to 2016. This information can be used to see general trends in employment by industry across regions. For more detailed information about a specific industry please contact me directly.

Questions to ask of the data…

  • Are there areas with higher unemployment? How does unemployment vary by age group?

  • Is there seasonal variation in unemployment? If so, why?

  • Which local industry has shown the greatest growth? How has this growth compared to other regions? What do you think has caused this growth?

  • Have there been any surprises, such as a sector that has grown or declined faster than anticipated? Why do you think this is so?

  • Does this information support popular perceptions?

Looking at a variety of indicators is useful. For example, after identifying a "high-growth" industry, you might want to also look at wages in that industry--the jobs may not be very high paying, and the growth may not be as great of a local boon as it appeared.