Wednesday afternoon the front page of the Seattle Times website featured the following story about how Washington State’s unemployment rate compares to other states:
It’s no secret that the economy, in Washington and across the nation, is struggling.
…Are we really doing that much worse than most everybody else?
Pretty much, although some explanation is helpful.
Washington’s unemployment rate was 8.3 percent in June, according to the bureau. That’s just a hair more than the national rate for that month, 8.2 percent. (The national figure increased to 8.3 percent in July, but the state-by-state July unemployment numbers won’t be available for another couple of weeks).
Despite its closeness to the national number, Washington’s 8.3 percent ranked as the 14th-highest in the country, according to the bureau.
A story like this is practially begging for an interactive map visualization. And now it has one. Note that in my table below Washington is 15th worst because I’m counting the District of Columbia, which resumably the Seattle Times story did not.
I went ahead and loaded up all of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ state unemployment data into this visualization, so you can use the month selector below the map to view any month as far back as January 1976.
Washington State as a whole has been near the top in unemployment for quite some time. Of course, the Seattle area is doing slightly better than the state as a whole, with the latest data from the Washington State Employment Security Department showing King County’s unemployment rate at 7.2%.