Unemployed men queue up for a meal in Chicago, 1914.
For the millions of Americans who have lost their livelihoods over the last few years and the millions more who have been unemployed since before the 2008 financial crisis, Labor Day will underscore the daily suffering. Ahead of President Obama’s jobs speech on Thursday, Mother Jones has collected statistics on U.S. unemployment against which the president’s proposals should be measured. —ARK
25.3 million Americans: The true size of the unemployment crisis. This figure includes people who are out of work, forced to work part-time, or unable to find a full-time job, as well as those who want to work but have given up searching for a job in the past month, most likely out of frustration.
6.9 million jobs: How many fewer jobs there are today than in December 2007.
0.22 jobs: The number of jobs out there for every person looking for work. (In other words, there’s 1 job for every 4.5 job seekers.)
43%: The percentage of jobless workers who haven’t pulled a steady paycheck in more than six months. That’s 6 million workers.
16.7%: The jobless rate for African-Americans. Black unemployment is now at its highest in 27 years.