The current unemployment rate is reported monthly in the Jobs Report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. the unemployment rate is a lagging indicator. That's because employers resist hiring new workers until they are absolutely sure the economy will stay strong. Although it's not good for predicting trends, it's useful for confirming trends. For more, see U.S. Unemployment Rate by Year.
Here are the unemployment rate statistics for every month since March 2007. Remember - these are the original reports. The BLS updates them, so you can compare these announcements to the revised versions at Unemployment Historical Data.
2013 Unemployment Statistics
- November: The rate dropped to 7.0%, even though people returned to the labor force.
- October: The rate rose to 7.3% as furloughed government workers inaccurately classified themselves as unemployed on the survey.
- September: The rate dropped to 7.2% as more people dropped out of the labor force.
- August: More people dropped out of the labor force, forcing the unemployment rate down to 7.3%.
- July: The unemployment rate fell to 7.4%, reflecting workers dropping out of the labor force.
- June: The rate remained at 7.6%, as more people rejoined the labor force.
- May: More people entered the labor force, raising the rate to 7.6%
- April: The jobless rate fell again, to 7.5%.
- March: The rate of unemployment dropped to 7.6%.
- February: Unemployment improved, as the rate returned to 7.7%.
- January: The unemployment rate rose a bit, to 7.9%.
2012 Unemployment Statistics
- December: The number of unemployed remained at 12.2 million, and the unemployment rate remained at 7.8%.
- November: More than 540,000 workers left the labor force, driving the unemployment rate down to 7.7%. However, the BLS has since revised this number to 7.8%.
- October: A stronger jobs picture brought more people back into the labor force, driving the unemployment rate up to 7.9%.
- September: The unemployment rate fell to 7.8%, as 873,000 workers became employed.
- August: The unemployment rate fell to 8.1%, thanks to fewer discouraged workers.
- July: Unemployment rose to 8.3% rate.
- June: The rate stayed at May's level of 8.2%.
- May: The unemployment rate rose to 8.2% as more people entered the labor force. However, if you back in the discouraged workers, the real unemployment rate remained at 8.7%.
- April: The unemployment rate dropped again, to 8.1%, while the number of unemployed fell to 12.5 million. However, the number of discouraged workers rose to 968,000.
- March: Economy-watchers were not cheered, even though the unemployment rate dropped to 8.2%, and the number of unemployed declined to 12.673 million.
- February: Despite new jobs, the unemployment rate remained at 8.3%, as did the number of unemployed at 12.8 million, as workers returned to the labor force.
- January: The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3%, and the number of unemployed declined to 12.8 million.
2011 Unemployment Statistics
- December: The year ends with the unemployment rate at 8.5%, and the number of unemployed at 13.1 million.
- November: Unemployment drops to 8.6%, last seen in March 2009.
- October: The unemployment rate fell a smidge, to 9%.
- September: The unemployment rate stayed at 9.1%.
- August: The stage was set for Obama's jobs speech when the unemployment rate stay stuck at 9.1%.
- July: The Dow dropped 400 points as unemployment fell to 9.1%.
- June: Government budget cuts drove unemployment to 9.2%.
- May: The unemployment rate rose to 9.1%, thanks to a dramatic slowdown in new job creation.
- April: The unemployment rate bumped up a smidge to 9% even though many new jobs were added.
- March: The unemployment rate dropped to 8.8%, thanks to an increase in new jobs.
- February: The unemployment rate dropped to 8.9% - the first time it was below 9% since April 2009.
- January: The January Jobs Report was confusing. If the economy only added 36,000 new jobs, why did the unemployment rate drop to 9%?
2010 Unemployment Statistics
- December: Although unemployment fell to 9.5%, this was because discouraged workers dropped out of the labor force. They'll be back - and keep unemployment between 9-10% through 2011.
- November: Unemployment rose to 9.8%, despite job growth.
- October: Despite job gains, unemployment wouldn't budge from 9.6%.
- September: Unemployment stubbornly stayed at 9.6%.
- August: More people rejoined the workforce, bumping unemployment up to 9.6%.
- July: The unemployment rate remained at 9.5%.
- June: Unemployment fell slightly to 9.5%.
- May: Unemployment dropped back to 9.7%.
- April: The unemployment rate rose to 9.9%, partly because discouraged workers returned to the labor force.
- March: Unemployment remained at 9.7% - although 1 million discouraged workers were no longer counted among the unemployed.
- February: Unemployment stabilizes at 9.7%.
- January: Unemployment dropped a bit to 9.7%%.
2009 Unemployment Statistics
- December: Unemployment remained steady at 10%.
- November: Unemployment dropped slightly to 10%.
- October: Unemployment rose to 10.2%.
- September - The unemployment rate went up to 9.8%.
- August - Unemployment worsened to 9.7%.
- July - Unemployment stayed at 9.5%. The job loss trend worsened when compared to the prior year.
- June - Unemployment continued to climb, affecting 14.7 million people, or 9.5% of the work force.
- May - Unemployment rose to 9.4%, which meant 14 million workers were without jobs.
- April - The unemployment rate rose to 8.9% with 13.7 million workers unemployed.
- March - Over 694,000 workers became unemployed in March, bringing the total count to 13.1 million and the unemployment rate to 8.5%.
- February - The number of unemployed workers increased by 851,000, driving the unemployment rate to 8.1%.
- January - Huge job losses drove the unemployment rate to 7.6%.
2008 Unemployment Statistics
- December - Unemployment rose to 7.2%, increasing faster than in the 2001 recession.
- November - Unemployment rose to 6.7%.
- October - Unemployment remained at 6.5%, a 14-year high.
- September - Unemployment remained at 6.1%.
- August - The unemployment rate increased to 6.1%.
- July - Unemployment increased to 5.7%.
- June - The unemployment rate held at 5.5%. This also continues a worsening trend begun in October 2006, when unemployment was at a low of 4.4%. The total number of unemployed was 1.5 million more than last year in June.
- May - The unemployment rate deteriorated again, to 5.5%. The total number of unemployed was 8.5 million, 861,000 more than last month, and 1.7 million more than last year in May. That's a 25% increase, year-over-year.
- April - The unemployment rate dropped slightly to 5%. The total number of unemployed was 7.6 million, a slight improvement from last month.
- March - The total number of unemployed was 7.8 million, with over half (4.1 million) unemployed due to losing their job. Of these, 914,000 lost their job in the last year, with a third (300,000) losing their job in March alone. The unemployment rate increased to 5.1%.
- February - The unemployment rate improved slightly to 4.8%.
- January - The unemployment rate dipped slightly to 4.9%.
2007 Unemployment Statistics
- December - Unemployment rose to 5%.
- November - The unemployment rate held steady at 4.7%, so most people felt the economy was not headed for a recession.
- October - Unemployment remained at 4.7%, as job growth slowed.
- September - The unemployment rate edged up to 4.7%. This increase was not really a concern, since it was in the same range it had been in since September 2006.
- August - Unemployment remained at 4.6%.
- July - As job growth slowed, new worries emerged from the slight increase in the unemployment rate, which edged up to 4.6%.
- June - The unemployment rate remained at 4.5%, despite fewer manufacturing jobs being added to the economy.
- May - The unemployment rate remained at 4.5%.
- April - The unemployment rate rose to a still healthy 4.5%. Few people were concerned.
- March - The unemployment rate decreased to 4.4%, despite slowing job growth, especially in manufacturing.