I posted recently about how the state-by-state unemployment rate has changed during my lifetime. The result was a small multiples grid that put the states in context with one another.
Today I’ve created a new version aimed at identifying more precisely how each state has differed from the national unemployment rate during the last four decades. The lines show the percentage point difference — above (worst) or below (better) — from the national rate.
This view allows us easily to identify the most anomalous states in both directions (West Virginia, for example, had quite an unemployment spike during the 1980s; South Dakota, on the other hand, has never been worse than the national rate).
There’s plenty more to explore in this quick remix:
There’s good news this week in the monthly jobs report, the latest sign that the economy, however grudgingly, has healed from the financial crisis nine years ago:
The unemployment rate fell to 4.6 percent, the Labor Department said, from 4.9 percent. The last time it was this low was August 2007. That was the month, you may recall, when global money markets first froze up because of losses on United States mortgage-related bonds: early tremors of what would become a recession four months later and a global financial crisis nine months after that.
These things, of course, are cyclical. Here’s how the unemployment rate has changed, by state, during my lifetime:
The ubiquitous $100 currency note — the Bill, the C-Note, the Benjamin — might be ready to cash out, at least if a group of influential economists have their way.
In a recent paper, scholars at Harvard University argue that the elimination of the $100 bill, along with other high-value currency notes around the world, could reduce corruption and restrict criminal enterprises.
Their findings even prompted a former U.S. Treasury Secretary, Lawrence Summers, to suggest that governments should stop printing $50 and $100 notes, reportsThe Wall Street Journal.
“I’d guess the idea of removing existing notes is a step too far. But a moratorium on printing new high-denomination notes would make the world a better place,” Mr. Summers wrote in an item for The Washington Post’s Wonkblog.
As the Journal reports, though, the $100 bill isn’t quite spent. About 10 billion of them — roughly $1 trillion in currency — are still circulating through the world economy (though far too few are in my wallet these days).
They’ve been printed at a steady rate during the last 30 years, according to data released by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing. And another 1.5 billion have been ordered for the 2016 fiscal year, the agency says.
This chart plots the printing rates of the various U.S. dollar notes since 1980. Note the recent spike in $100 printing during the 2013 fiscal year. That fall the government began issuing a new round of $100 bills with enhanced security features. The printing fell off again last year to reflect the burst in new paper.
Americans who celebrate Thanksgiving generally enjoy a good bird, myself included. But is that the case in some years more than others?
This chart shows turkey production (254 million this year) normalized by the number of households estimated each year by the U.S. Census Bureau. In the sixties, turkeys were produced at lower per-household rates than, say, the 1990s. We’re back down to about two turkeys per household now:
Who knows why this shift occurred. Perhaps diets changed, or people purchased more food in bustling economic times, like the 1990s, or we started importing turkey from China. Any ideas?
The New York Times has a fascinating story today about links between marriage and children and the growing class divide in America. The story focuses on two families — one led by a married couple, Chris and Kevin Faulkner; the other by a struggling single mom, Jessica Schairer:
The economic storms of recent years have raised concerns about growing inequality and questions about a core national faith, that even Americans of humble backgrounds have a good chance of getting ahead. Most of the discussion has focused on labor market forces like falling blue-collar wages and lavish Wall Street pay.
But striking changes in family structure have also broadened income gaps and posed new barriers to upward mobility. College-educated Americans like the Faulkners are increasingly likely to marry one another, compounding their growing advantages in pay. Less-educated women like Ms. Schairer, who left college without finishing her degree, are growing less likely to marry at all, raising children on pinched paychecks that come in ones, not twos.
The story is accompanied by two charts illustrating the trend. The first shows how the rate of women having children outside of marriage has increased among all racial groups:
This chart shows that children who don’t live with both parents are less likely to move up to higher income groups as adults:
The last two days have been rough for Netflix. Here’s David Carr’s take on its latest woes:
In earnings announced on Monday, word came that for the first quarter, the company lost $4.6 million, its first loss since 2005. The company also said that its aggressive international expansion was going to take longer than expected. Netflix stock tanked, down over 14 percent on Tuesday.
This area chart shows how quickly the video service’s stock dropped in after-hours trading following the earnings announcement late Monday:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has a fascinating new report out that compares consumer budgets in the United States, Canada, Britain and Japan. As the graph below shows, there’s a huge amount of variation in what people in each country are spending their money on:
The Washington Post has a story today about the lack of sit-down restaurants across the Anacostia River in neighborhoods that are among the poorest in the city.
For decades, the main arteries east of the Anacostia River have been dominated by carry-out joints and fast-food chains, their menus catering to an African American population that is the city’s most impoverished. In wards 7 and 8, with 140,000 residents, District officials and community leaders say they’re aware of just six restaurants that provide waiter service, including a Denny’s and an IHOP. The dearth of choices fuels the sense among residents that theirs is a forgotten part of Washington.