Last year, at the height of the pandemic, the RDS Business Intelligence team launched an extensive Unemployment Workbook on its Tableau Public page. We’ve been posting updates each month.

Today, we look at the newest data for May, 2021, and compare it to May, 2020. April, 2020, was the high mark for U.S. unemployment, reaching 14.8. The economy began its slow climb in May, which we are using as the focus for this post.

The slope chart below looks at initial unemployment claims for May of both years. As you’ll see, there were over 8 million claims in May, 2020. A year later, the number of initial claims had dropped to 1.8 million:

While we’ve seen a dramatic improvement on a year-to-year basis, it’s worth noting that unemployment claims are still high when compared to the pre-pandemic period. In fact, claims in May, 2019, were a little over 867,000, 47 percent less than May, 2021 claims.

One of the most-followed features of the RDS Unemployment Workbook is the monthly deep dive into unemployment data by demographics, industry and specific types of jobs. In particular, we know that certain industries and occupations were devastated by the COVID-related shut downs.

In the slope chart below, we highlight May 2020 to May 2021 unemployment rate changes across several of these important groups. The overall U.S. unemployment rate dropped from 13.3 to 5.8 percent over the past year. In terms of industries, the most notable change was in Leisure and Hospitality, dropping from 35.9 to 10.1 percent since May 2020.

But while the economy has rebounded significantly, unemployment rates are still much higher than the pre-pandemic periods. For example, the unemployment rate for the Leisure and Hospitality is still DOUBLE the corresponding rate of 5.0 in May, 2019.

CLICK HERE to see the complete, interactive workbook on the Recovery Decision Science Tableau Public page.

To learn more about Recovery Decision Science, contact:

Kacey Rask : Vice-President, Portfolio Servicing

[email protected] / 513.489.8877, ext. 261