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Unemployment Comparison


Comparisons between the unemployment rates of the 2008-2009 economic recession and the previous major recession of the early 1980s focused on the overall unemployment rate. However, the overall rate can be broken down to contrast unemployment among high school dropouts and unemployment among college graduates. The following graph shows this comparison:

(excerpt from the Wall Street Journal, December 2, 2009, retrieved from )

Part 1:
Which group has a larger ratio of increase in unemployment between 2009 and 1983?

Part 2:
For which year, 2009 or 1983, is the unemployment rate for all adults closer to the average of the unemployment rates of high school dropouts and college graduates?

Part 3:
To explain the apparent inconsistency in the data for 2009 (lower overall unemployment rate but higher rates for both high school dropouts and college graduates), which group must have increased in size between 1983 and 2009?