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U.S. labor before FRED was born

A happy-birthday backward glance at 1991


Today, FRED celebrates its 28th birthday. On this happy occasion, the whole family (FRED, ALFRED, GeoFRED, and the little one, FREDcast) are gathering to read the 2018 Annual Report of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, much of which is dedicated to FRED.

Let’s look back at the U.S. economy before the birth of FRED (on April 18, 1991) and compare it with the economy of today. The graph above shows the unemployed according to the length of their unemployment spell: We can see there are many more long-term unemployed today. The second graph, which uses a dataset first released right after FRED was born, shows that the U.S. labor force has also become more educated.

We can’t offer our readers any cake, but we do have pie…charts. The two charts below compare men and women in the labor force and show that the share of women has increased a bit in the past 28 years. The change may not be obvious until you hover over the chart to verify it.

How these graphs were created: Start from the Current Population Survey, navigate to the release table you’re interested in, check the series you want displayed, and click “Add to Graph.” For the first two graphs, use the “Edit Graph” panel’s “Format” tab and select graph type “Area” with “Percent” stacked. Adjust the start date for the first graph. For the pie charts, chose graph type “Pie” and adjust the dates.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

View on FRED, series used in this post: LNS11000025, LNS11000026, LNS12027659, LNS12027660, LNS12027662, LNS12027689, UEMP15T26, UEMP27OV, UEMP5TO14, UEMPLT5


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