Unemployment & Foreclosure Statistics Across America

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2011-09-0324

Every so often, I find myself checking out the pulse of unemployment. While thinking of the appropriate theme for this year’s Labor Day post, I decided to take a different turn away from the usual summer holiday banter about family and barbecue grills. After all, this site is here to give continued visibility and commentary about the economy.

Unfortunately, tough times may still be ahead for a lot of people. Here are some points I gathered from this article in the L.A. Times that takes a look at unemployment in recent years.

  • Recent downturns we’ve been experiencing have been equal-opportunity “unemployers”.
  • Although the misery is widespread, some demorgraphic groups have been hit harder than others. Your situation is influenced by your age, education and the industry you work in.
  • It makes sense that the people who are worst hit before a recession should be the worst off while a recession is ongoing. Not surprised about this one.
  • It takes longer for the average unemployed person to find a job than it did when unemployment peaked in past years (ie. October 2009).
  • During slowdowns, more jobs are being lost than created.
  • A slow job recovery points to job growth primarily in lower-wage occupations.

Foreclosure Rates, Job Statistics & More Unemployment Numbers

Here’s more evidence of the job erosion we’re hearing about on the media circuit. You know I love maps — economic maps, in particular. The last few ones I’ve featured here illustrated the U.S. unemployment rates and California’s unemployment rate history. I’ve also covered business cycles and historical financial charts in the past, so I thought it would be a good time to revisit the bigger picture on our economy in terms of the job situation, foreclosure rates and unemployment figures. Plus, let’s check out how all these numbers fit against what the government has done for our economy over the last few years via the effects of the stimulus bill. Has the massive stimulus package had any impact on our economy?

It’s easy to see how things are going, care of CNN.com’s Economy Tracker. Following are some of the visual guides or maps I’ve seen, illustrating the health of our economy from January 2007 all the way through December 2010. The maps are interactive (just the way I like it), so by using the sliders that are available in these trackers, you’ll see just how things have evolved over the past years. Here’s a snapshot of the charts that track the economy, showing data for February 2010 (click on the images below to expand them):

Unemployment Rates

unemployment rates

The redder it is, the higher the unemployment rate.

Jobs By Industry

jobs by industry

Blue represents increase or job growth. Red indicates a decline.

Foreclosure Rates

foreclosure rates

Darker red indicates higher foreclosure rates.

How Recovery Act Funds Were Awarded

stimulus funds

Darker red signifies that more funds were awarded to the state.

Check out how the economic numbers have changed over time. Do you see any indication here that we can expect any sort of improvement in our economic health in the near term? We can only hope. Note that these were last year’s numbers; for more updated information, please check this page.

As an aside, let me gripe about something I’m seeing here. As a Californian, I’ve noticed that a lot of the stimulus money was sent our way, but it seems like things haven’t really changed much. We’re still seeing bad unemployment numbers — among the worst in the nation. Is it no surprise that we’re in this financial quagmire when stuff like runaway vacation pay in the public sector is seen as part of our financial landscape? This is nuts; I can only wonder when our state will start getting its act together. Sucks to be a Silicon Valley mom with school-aged kids right about now…

Is this the new normal? It sure is starting to feel this way. The economy clearly has a huge impact on our employment status. And our employment situation obviously affects how likely it would be for us to afford the basic things in life (and whether some families will be able to put food on the table or afford the roof over their heads). The key to getting back on track if you’re unemployed is to work on new skills, cast a wide net on your job search and try to network as hard as you can. It may be time to take a few risks too, like investing in yourself or moving to a new place where job demand exists. Have you lost your job or landed a new one? If you’ve landed a job in this economy, let us know. We’d love to hear good news!

Created September 6, 2010. Updated September 3, 2011. Copyright © 2011 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Doctor S September 6, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Happy labor day to you. I am enjoying the day off big time. I must say, when it comes to unemployment, the biggest thing that comes to my mind is the older workers. My dad was an engineer for 25 years and now he can barely find work in his field. Now he is collecting social security and trying to find whatever he can on the side. At this point, his only option is to train for a totally different industry. The problem is that people in their 60’s have too much pride to think this way. That’s just me and my situation though. Regardless, enjoy the day!

FrugalGuy September 7, 2010 at 1:11 pm

I think people really need to start working hard by investing in themselves. Jobs and companies are risky; use them to advance your goals by learning something new and move on. My feeling is to treat “jobs” like short term contracts. This is the new norm now. IMHO

Silicon Valley Blogger September 7, 2010 at 3:46 pm

These days, it’s not really wise to “sit on your laurels”. The key to surviving is to continue to have bankable skills that remain in demand. Not a good idea to become complacent and in turn, become obsolete. It’s precisely the reason why the older we get, the harder it is to find a job or get work. Not only is it tough to fit into a competitive work environment (that demands 24/7 of your time, unless you’re terribly lucky), it’s also a matter of whether your skills continue to be relevant. That’s why we always need to be on our toes, ready to reinvent ourselves. Sad to say, it’s all survival of the fittest in the work world. When the economy is in a slump, the competition is greater and the need to work that much harder to find and keep a job or to maintain a business becomes imperative.

finance September 7, 2010 at 4:44 pm

I’m a finance engineer (:

Peter Dunin September 8, 2010 at 5:57 am

I think there’s a hell of a lot of people out there who would love to be working, but the fact is if you live where I live the jobs just aren’t there even if you have all the skills in the world.

Silicon Valley Blogger September 8, 2010 at 11:59 am

If you have the skills, you can apply for a job outside of your current area and if you get accepted, you can relocate. Sure, seems like it’s easier said than done, but many people do it. If there is opportunity somewhere else, why not pursue it? There are risks and there are also excuses. But you command your plight in this case.

shweta santosh September 11, 2010 at 9:52 am

Are you living the life of slaves or serfs?

Percy September 18, 2010 at 10:51 am

From what I have witnessed, the stimulus money has been put to use in the wrong places!

Todd September 18, 2010 at 10:51 am

Loving the visuals despite their bleak outlook. I really did not see the stimulus money actually inspiring growth. It is doing what I thought it would. Prop up an already tired and exploited system. Like giving a heart transplant to a 90 year old man with a bad liver and 1 lung:)

The Biz of Life September 18, 2010 at 10:52 am

A good deal of the stimulus money spent so far went to prop up state governments, and close their budgetary gaps. I’ve seen a few projects in my area, most make work type of stuff, marginal economic value, no permanent jobs.

MicroFinance September 19, 2010 at 2:00 am

i am a finance manger and I really enjoy my job.

Neal A. Deutsch, CFP September 19, 2010 at 10:52 am

The economic picture cannot change to a major degree until all facets of the process are in alignment. Lobbying, excessive pay, vacations, misdirected government funding, etc. are but a small part of the bleak picture. It just seems that while the government is enacting a movement to save $1.00, they allow $5.00 to slip through the cracks. Perhaps we need some real life business people in government…

OR Employment September 22, 2010 at 10:37 am

Definitely jittery in these uncertain times, a number of people i know are forced with unemployment and I don’t see it getting any better any time soon. I think a lot of people will be starting to consider a home business option.

James Goi Jr September 22, 2010 at 10:43 am

Very nice sharing your information. It should be helpful for my work. Thank you!

Jack Goldenberg September 22, 2010 at 10:51 am

Banks have the money, but they just aren’t lending, they’re too fearful of the period they’ve just been through. That will change and once the first big banks starts putting money back into the system, the others will follow.

Private capital seems to be the best way to borrow money for commercial loans or super jumbo loans that are over $2 million.

Jack Goldenberg

Bloggin Noggin September 23, 2010 at 1:41 pm

If you have a job to post, post it free at newjobnation.com – use “code newjob”. Many search options available if you’re looking for a job.

David Everall October 5, 2010 at 10:50 am

The stock market is recovering but not the real estate market. Foreclosures continue to be scary and plentiful. Consumer loans are also continuing to rise. The good news is there are lots of homes that can be bought cheap.

Ahmed Payette April 17, 2011 at 10:50 am

I think everyone is a little bit jittery. As the economic plans and policies get put into place and unemployment and other factors will improve. I am sad to say that may take awhile and we as people want things now instead of later. After all, impulse buying is very popular in the U.S. I’m willing to give our leaders a little more time but they are on a short leash.

krantcents September 3, 2011 at 10:17 pm

10 years ago, I became a teacher partially for the stability and an opportunity to make a difference. The cuts in state (California) budgets has made even teaching positions vulnerable. Cutting education is the easy fix in a bad economy because society will pay for it much later. This Spring, I went through all the consequences of budget cuts, I was RIFed, rescinded, displaced and now I have a new assignment.When do I think it will get better? I don’t know! This may be the new normal! 40 to 50 kids in a class, teachers who do not have time to help students and an impossible situation. The good news is I can make a difference!

Silicon Valley Blogger September 4, 2011 at 8:42 am

@Krantcents — are you from California? I understand your plight. I was shocked to find that public schools in my area were putting 30 kids in each Kindergarten class! A lot of the folks here (who can afford it) are now opting for private school. And there are others who are going for home schooling. There are financial repercussions everywhere; looks like we’ll be dealing with a lot more for a while. Can it get any worse, I wonder.

Heather September 4, 2011 at 10:19 am

I live in the SF Bay Area, work in biotech, have been laid off 3 times in 3 yrs & have reinvented myself 3 times. And yes, I’m an older female worker. With the last layoff (a political move vs. true down-sizing) 2 of my former colleagues have created a brand new company with excellent VC and private funding and the hope of bringing new cancer treatments to pts. I am poised to join this company and will work in a new capacity, so I agree that learning new skills is important.

Fortunately finances are holding us steady until I begin full time work in a couple of months. In the meantime, I’ve been doing odd jobs for cash, doing sm paid contract work in my sector and working pro-bono as an interim project manager for a relative who is also starting a new company. He is using stimulus money that was directed at the state and getting a lot of pro-bono advise/assistance from generous tech savvy folks. I also agree with the length of time its taking to go through the interview/hiring process – VERY SLOW. All in all, the elements not mentioned here are the importance of maintaining a solid network of professional associations, not only for job leads but also for professional advice. We’ll make it through this current phase if we stick together & provide mutual support in whatever way we can.

darcy September 4, 2011 at 10:51 am

@DoctorS, I think you are too generic in your reference about “60 year olds being too prideful to get a job”. At 53 I trained to become a special ed teacher (Bachelor Busn & Marketing; NT Certification; owner of a Bed and Breakfast), and two and a half years later (night school), the teachers were not retiring, the special ed jobs did not materialize as advertised by colleges, and I am almost at the verge of becoming 60 with a portfolio about 3″ thick–not one of my accomplishments, experience, substitute teaching, long term assignments, mental health facility tutor/facilitator, marketing ads, web design, etc., but full of Letters of Intent and Rejection letters.

Why am I keeping them? To show Job and Family Services that every day I look for work, send out resumes, talk with people, become linked in with everyone I can possibly check off and keep pursuing work–I raised three children on my own with little support from “Dad”, obtained a loan modification, work three PRN (as needed) jobs, and believe me, if I feel pride, it’s because I keep trying. Just for your info, I am looking into graduate studies in gerontology–should be SOMETHING for me in this field. Wonder if I’ll get hired?

Silicon Valley Blogger September 5, 2011 at 11:25 am

One recent video on this — grandpa continues to work out of necessity while younger people are unable to find work.

Dan Walton September 5, 2011 at 9:19 pm

Becoming less reliant on companies is the only way to go. If you’ve got a job, don’t be complacent. Have a side job and save, save, save!

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