For Valentine’s Day, we embrace the subject of unemployment. Specifically, this graph shows the unemployment rate for 2 of the 3,000+ U.S. counties for which FRED has data: Love County in Oklahoma and Loving County in Texas. Besides their affectionate names, what’s so special about them?
Loving County has a rather unusual unemployment rate: It can stay at 0% for several months in a row or it can shoot up to 16%. This is what happens when a county has only 134 residents. Also, the BLS gathers unemployment numbers from surveys, so only some residents of this county were reached. The results, therefore, are (1) very volatile due to small samples and (2) more frequently off the mark.
Love County is an agriculture-centric county of a more traditional size: 10,000 residents. Such counties have unemployment rates that are below the national average and more stable, and this holds true here. The only unusual aspect is the uptick in the previous recession. The county’s largest employer is a casino, and that industry suffered a lot in the recession.
How this graph was created: Search for “loving unemployment” and, yes, the series you need will be among the few choices. Check the relevant series and click “Add to Graph.” To add the nice pink frame, go to the “Edit Graph” panel’s “Format” tab and play with the coloring options.