COVID-19 Unemployment Rates in Comparison to The Great Recession

Bria Monét Dixon
3 min readOct 21, 2020

Did you or someone you know lose their job, because of COVID-19? Well as you know you’re not alone. 3 million people lost their job in the first month of the pandemic, and unfortunately, that number rose in just three months. Would you believe if I told you the unemployment rates in the first three months of COVID-19 was greater than the unemployment rates in The Great Recession after two years? Want to see what that looks like in numbers, and who is affected. Follow along!

The chart above represents the unemployment rates by race and gender. The first two rows are unemployment for women and the second two rows are based on male unemployment rates, and which race was greater. The unemployment rates are from just May 2020 during COVID, compared to The Great Recessions peak. In total 65.3% of women from all races lost their jobs during May 2020. In comparison to 44.9% of women from all races during The Great Recession. But that’s not all.

In this chart, it is shown that unemployment rates are greater for immigrant workers than U.S born workers. During the month of May during COVID-19, only 12.4% of U.S born workers lost their jobs, while 15.7% of immigrant workers lost theirs. In comparison to The Great Recession, 10.3% of U.S born workers were laid off, amongst 11.8% of immigrant workers.

There’s always an argument that we don’t need college, but most of the time a degree can have an effect on things. Believe it or not when an employer who to fire off of the bat they seemed too focused on education. During both The Great Recession and the COVID-19 recession, non-high school graduates are laid off first, whereas workers with their bachelors are not.

Process: My process was a bit rocky. In the beginning, I struggled to find data. Originally I was going to work on mental health during COVID-19, but there is no data for that topic because it is too soon. It wasn’t until after meeting in class that I understood that my question was too narrow and that I needed to broaden it. That’s when I decided to focus on comparing a traumatic event in the U.S like 9/11 and compare the mental health or unemployment rates to the COVID recession. But to be honest it was not until the day I the midterm was due that I realized there had to be a different time where things could really align with the drastic unemployment rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Then I fell upon The Great Recession, and BOOM DATA. And the process was all uphill from there however it has still been difficult to make a chart based on my data which is what I feel I struggled with this most during this assignment was trying to make a different chart that was able to represent the data in the right way. And maybe it’s because I am mediocre with charts, but it definitely seemed that a bar chart was the most fitting. Overall, this process was fun, and it taught me that I understand a lot of concepts in data, and seeing my research in numbers was nice as well.