Academic Literature

US – Occupation Unemployment

Back in 2000, just 3% of electricians in the United States were unemployed. By the end of the decade, 19% of electricians were out of work — a huge increase that reflected the lasting turmoil wrought by the recession.

Although unemployment among electricians improved to 12.9% in 2011, other occupations haven’t fared so well. The Bureau of Labor Statistics provided EMSI with unpublished data on unemployment by detailed occupation from 2000 to 2010 (with 2011 included separately), and the numbers are as unpleasant as you might expect for low-skilled and production workers.

For helpers in construction trades, unemployment went from an estimated 9.8% in 2000 to 36% in 2010 (as of 2011, it was 27.8%). The national jobless rate for millwrights jumped from 4.2% to 25.5%, while structural iron workers and roofers saw a similarly large increase; both went from around 7.5% in 2000 to at least 27% in 2010.

Other occupations started the decade in poor shape and ended the decade in even worse condition. More than one-third of telemarketers were out of work in 2010 (34.8%), compared to 16.4% in 2000. In 2011, the beleaguered occupation was at 31.4% unemployment — the highest-reported jobless rate in the nation.

These percentages come from the Current Population Survey (or household survey), which tracks unemployment among those with prior work experience, classified according to their last job. Unemployment rates are not included for jobs with fewer than 50,000 jobs nationally.

The following are key trends from CPS unemployment figures. The full data for 2000-2010 and 2011, encompassing more than 500 occupations, can be downloaded here (.xls). Note that starting in January 2011, the CPS replaced the 2000 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system with SOC 2010, so the data are not “strictly comparable” with earlier years, per the BLS…

via Unemployment by Detailed Occupation « EMSI | Economic Modeling Specialists Int..


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