2 of 7
BACKNEXT
Jobs
Jobs
According to the Department of Labor, America has lost 760,000 jobs this year - almost 160,000 of them in September alone, before the worst of the financial crisis set in.

Despite that, the nation's unemployment rate is a relatively low 6.1%.

To put that into perspective, consider that during the Great Depression, unemployment reached 24%. During the last oil-fueled recession, in April 1976, unemployment hit 9%.

The methodology for calculating unemployment has been the same the past 28 years, but the composition of the job market has changed substantially over that time.

When things are good, like they were in the tech boom, unemployment is low. Indeed, the lowest unemployment rate we've seen since 1980 was in April of 2000, when it stood at 3.8%.

When things are bad, as they are in a recession, unemployment is high. The highest unemployment rate since 1980 was 10.8%, in November 1982.

Putting everything on a 10-point scale, if you set 3.9% unemployment equal to ten (the absolute best on our timeline) and 10.8% unemployment equal to zero (the absolute worst), where are we now?

Jobs: 6.8

NEXT: Personal Income

Last updated October 31 2008: 9:42 AM ET
More Galleries
Best-loved cars in America These cars and trucks topped J.D. Power's APEAL survey, which measures how much owners like their new vehicles. More
America's most powerful cars A new 'horsepower war' has erupted among U.S. automakers and these are the most potent weapons in their arsenals. More
A sampling of beers being made with traditional Latin flavors A small but growing number of craft breweries are including passion fruit, Mexican cinnamon and other traditional Latin flavors. More

Special Offer
Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.