Annualized Unemployment Data Viz

by Hans D. Stroo on December 29, 2015

The annualized unemployment rate for 2014 was 6.23 percent. However, rates differ markedly across dimensions of age, gender, and race.

Youth and unemployment go hand in hand. Residents ages 16 to 19 suffered a steep 23.5% unemployment rate. That’s followed by the 20-24 year old set, whose unemployment came in at 13.9. The situation is much better for 45-64 year old residents — their collective unemployment rate is a very low 3.8 percent.

Different racial groups were connected to different unemployment rates. The lowest unemployment rate went to Asians (4.9%). White unemployment averaged at 5.6 percent. Hispanics were afflicted by high unemployment (9.0%). The worst situation of all belonged to black Washingtonians. For them, the unemployment rate was a whopping 14 percent.

Finally comes gender, where the male unemployment rate (7.2%) was significantly higher than the female rate (5.2%).

Using the dropdown menu on the righthand side, the interactive data visualization below allows users to organize unemployment rates by either age, race, or gender. 


Here is another analysis that focuses on the effect of intersectional identity on unemployment.

Intersectionality is the study of overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination or discrimination. The theory seeks to examine how various biological, social and cultural categories such as gender, race, class, ability, sexual orientation, religion, class, and age interact on multiple and often simultaneous levels. This framework can be used to understand how systemic  and social inequality occur on a multidimensional basis.

In other words, discrimination against an individual can occur across various dimensions such as race, age, gender, etc. When these different dimensions are combined in different ways, it creates unique discriminatory processes. The visualization below groups the data into intersecting categories or race, gender, and age– all ranked by unemployment rate.

One can immediately see the odd effects of intersectional identities on unemployment in Washington State. For example: women generally have lower unemployment than men. Yet the regrettable unemployment rate for black women (15.6%) is higher than the overall rate for women (5.2%) or blacks (14%).

Generally speaking it’s young people, particularly young men, who appear hardest hit by unemployment. African Americans and Hispanics tended to have higher unemployment rates. Middle aged white and Asian people were the least likely to struggle in finding work.

Unemployment is bad for individuals and it’s bad for society. The private and public sectors should work together to identify strategies for helping every segment of Washington State’s population reach full employment.

What next?

What do you think? How can policymakers and businesses decrease unemployment in Washington State for those who can’t find work? What is being done in other parts of the country, and would it work here?