Is Today’s U.S. Unemployment Rate Higher than During 1930’s Great Depression?
By: Washingtons Blog
Oct 25, 2010
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy notes in Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (Oxford, 1999) that – during Herbert Hoover’s presidency, more than 13 million Americans lost their jobs. Of those, 62% found themselves out of work for longer than a year; 44% longer than two years; 24% longer than three years; and 11% longer than four years.
Blytic calculates that the current average duration of unemployment is some 32 weeks, the median duration is around 2o weeks, and there are approximately 6 million people unemployed for 27 weeks or longer.
As I noted in January 2009:
In 1930, there were 123 million Americans.
At the height of the Depression in 1933, 24.9% of the total work force or 11,385,000 people, were unemployed.
Will unemployment reach 25% during this current crisis?
I don’t know. But the number of people unemployed will be higher than during the Depression.
Specifically, there are currently some 300 million Americans, 154.4 million of whom are in the work force.
Unemployment is expected to exceed 10% by many economists, and Obama “has warned that the unemployment rate will explode to at least 10% in 2009”.
10 percent of 154 million is 15 million people out of work – more than during the Great Depression.
Given that the broader U-6 measure of unemployment is currently around 17% (ShadowStats.com puts the figure at 22%), the current numbers are that much worse.