70 F
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64.8 F
59.3 F

Visualizing 40 years of Alabama unemployment (GIF)


For the first time since October of 2012, Alabama’s unemployment rate jumped over 7 percent in July, according to revised numbers released Friday by the Department of Labor. But the economy also grew at the fastest rate it has this year, lending some credibility to the Bentley administration’s argument that the bump in unemployment is at least in part due to workers optimistically re-entering the workforce.

Yellowhammer decided to take a look at historical unemployment data in the state of Alabama to compare the relatively high unemployment numbers of recent years with trends over the last several decades.

This GIF shows Alabama’s average yearly unemployment rate beginning in 1976 during the Wallace administration, and runs until the present Bentley administration.

Alabama unemployment rate yearly

And the GIF below shows how Alabama compared to other states over that same time period, from the Carter administration to the present Obama administration.

It’s worth noting that the unemployment rate is what is often referred to as a “lagging indicator.” The unemployment rate tends to increase or decrease several quarters after and upturn or downturn in the economy.

The unemployment rate can also be deceiving because it does not take into account that many people simply given up looking for a job during particularly difficult periods. When that happens, those individuals are no longer considered part of the labor force and thus not included in the unemployment stats.

Still, the unemployment rate remains the most commonly used economic measurement and can be helpful in identifying trends over long periods of time.

One recent trend outside of Alabama that is worth noting on the map below is that the the state of North Dakota has maintained an incredibly low unemployment rate, even during the recent recession. North Dakota has rapidly expanded its oil extraction and experienced an energy boom. The state frequently has the lowest unemployment rate in the country and a billion-dollar budget surplus.

Unemployment by State

Does anything jump out to you from watching these gifs? Let us know in the comment section below or by tweeting @YHPolitics.

Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

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