The Unemployment Rate Is Still a Little Higher Than It Was In 2007

Inspired by this, here’s an interesting chart:

This shows the unemployment rate by education level starting at its low point in 2007 and going through today. For high school dropouts, unemployment is now the same as it was at the top of the housing boom. However, unemployment for everyone else is still about half a point higher than it was in 2007. This suggests that despite the headline unemployment rate being at its 2007 low, there’s still some labor slack in the system.

So how is it that the headline number is the same as it was in 2007 but its constituent parts are higher? It’s all about demographics and disaggregation. There are more college grads and high school grads than there were ten years ago, and they bring down the overall number. However, if you disaggregate, you find that we still have a little ways to go before we truly reach 2007 levels. If you’re interested, there’s more about how disaggregation works here.