Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 19:54 | SYDNEY
Saturday 21 Jul 2018 | 19:54 | SYDNEY

US unemployment figures


Sam Roggeveen


13 February 2009 15:42

ABC News finance analyst Alan Kohler last night flashed up this graph on US unemployment statistics, which comes from US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's website. Sorry about the poor resolution, but all you need to know is that the dramatic green line represents the current recession:

The problem with this graph, as we noted on Tuesday, is that American bloggers showed it to be a bit misleading. Pelosi's graph is based on absolute unemployment numbers rather than the unemployment rate. Since the US labour force is bigger now than in previous recessions, you get a more dramatic number. But in percentage terms, the current jobless rate is more consistent with previous US recessions. 

Pelosi's graph was intended to dramatise the financial crisis in order to get political momentum behind the stimulus bill. Kohler might wish to point that out on Monday's broadcast.