The Reynolds Center Horizontal Logo In Color

Two Minute Tips

Two story ideas for covering unemployment

January 15, 2020

Share this article:

"Zombie debt" can revive old debts and cause financial hassle for consumers. (Photo credit to Pixabay)

The unemployment rate is one of the major indicators of a country’s healthy economy. There is a great deal of content available about unemployment and its implications in the U.S. media and worldwide.

Based on recent data, here are two story ideas that business journalists can follow through. 

Unemployment rate is more than average in your state – why? 

The unemployment rate in the U.S. varies through states. The average is 3.7%. But the average in certain states is higher. Arizona and Mississippi are among those, with 5% and 5.2% respectively, together with Alaska and District of Columbia. 

The business journalists can look at the numbers, talk with financial analysts and try to find out what is different in these states that makes the unemployment rate higher than the country average. 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has “Economy at a Glance” for each state that includes labor force data and non-farm wage and salary. This can be a good starting point for journalists reporting on the issue. 

According to Balance there are seven major factors that affect unemployment: 

1. Demand – deficient unemployment – when there are fewer jobs than applicants. Companies can lose profit when customer demand drops. 

2. Advances in technology can mean that less people are needed to perform certain tasks. 

3. Job outsourcing – when a company moves its manufacturing or call centers to another country usually with lower cost of living. 

4. Workers can voluntarily leave their jobs or just relocate. 

5. New workers entering the job market can increase competition. Same with workers who re-enter the market after being out of it for some time. 

Corporate Finance Institute adds high interest rates, global recession and financial crisis to the list above. 

Unemployment issues for people with disabilities 

9 million Americans with disabilities have a job, according to the United States Census Bureau. The most common occupations include janitors, building cleaners, drivers, cashiers and so on. 

The Census Bureau says that in most occupations workers with or without disabilities earn about the same. Some occupations like lawyers, financial analysts and chief executives can be an exception. 

Generally, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities has decreased and reached the lowest number yet recorded. However, it is still higher compared to the rate for people with no disability.  

According to Bureau of Labor Statistics the unemployment rate for women with disability status between the ages of 16 and 64 was 8.2 percent in August 2019. While for persons with no disability the number is 4 percent. So women who have some kind of disability are twice less likely to be employed, compared to those women who have no disability. As for the men with disability in the same age category the unemployment rate is 7.2%. 

Forbes recently wrote that the high unemployment rate among women with disabilities is an underreported issue. Business journalists can cover the topic both, on local and national scale using information from governmental databases, as well as from research of private organizations. 

Some of the sources that can be useful: 


  • Nino Abdaladze

    Nino was a Fulbright Foreign Graduate Student at Arizona State University studying investigative journalism. Originally from Tbilisi, Georgia, she has been working there as an investigative reporter for the last 2 years writing stories about crime, e...

More Like This...

Two Minute Tips

Sign up now.
Get one Tuesday.

Every Tuesday we send out a quick-read email with tips for business journalism.

Subscribers also get access to the Tip archive.


Get Two Minute Tips For Business Journalism Delivered To Your Email Every Tuesday

Two Minute Tips

Every Tuesday we send out a quick-read email with tips for business journalism. Sign up now and get one Tuesday.