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The unemployment rate the year you turned 16

  • 1999

    - Annual unemployment rate: 4.2%

    The teen unemployment rate fell under 14%, its lowest rate since the early 1970s, while the rate for women reached its lowest level since 1953. Tech employment saw gains as well, with large businesses spending over $100 billion to avert the Y2K crisis.

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  • 2000

    - Annual unemployment rate: 4.0%

    Ten years of economic growth came to a crashing halt with the burst of the Dot-com Bubble in 2000. The NASDAQ, which had increased five-fold since 1995, lost almost a trillion dollars in value in less than a month from March to April.

  • 2001

    - Annual unemployment rate: 4.7%

    The country officially entered a recession in March 2001, as 18 states saw their unemployment rates increase more than 1%. The September 11 attacks dropped the Dow by 700 points, only making the recession worse. The attacks on U.S. soil would be the beginning of the War on Terror, which would cost the U.S. billions to fight over the next few years.

    [Pictured: Firefighters demonstrate over cutbacks in force at Ground Zero, New York, Nov. 2, 2001.]

  • 2002

    - Annual unemployment rate: 5.8%

    The unemployment rate reached an eight-year high as the War on Terror, which would cost $59.1 billion by 2002, began in earnest. The events of 9/11 had major effects on the airline industry, which laid off thousands of workers.

  • 2003

    - Annual unemployment rate: 6.0%

    The Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003 (JGTRRA) assisted in dropping the unemployment rate 0.5% by 2004. The act would increase tax deductions for small businesses as well as speed up the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (EGTRRA), both of which would assist in lowering rates of joblessness.

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  • 2004

    - Annual unemployment rate: 5.5%

    In 2004, economic expansion, particularly due to a good global GDP and low short-term interest rates, created more American jobs, slicing more off the already-declining unemployment percentages. The economic expansion created all types of employment positions, with the most popular being retail sales associates, registered nurses, post-secondary professors, and customer service representatives.

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  • 2005

    - Annual unemployment rate: 5.1%

    Though the good intentions of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 would assist in lowering the unemployment rate 0.4% from the prior year, it’s linked to causing the Great Recession in 2008. By the end of the year, the U.S. economy slowed; however, the unemployment rate continued to decline 0.5% to 4.6%, where it would remain for two years.

  • 2006

    - Annual unemployment rate: 4.6%

    Economic expansion in the next two years would stabilize the unemployment rate at 4.6%, but a weakening labor market and retail sales would start to slowly affect the economy. In 2006, the U.S. economy was creating around 149,000 jobs per month, but the housing boom was ending and mortgage failures were rising.

    [Pictured: Terri and Bill Van Beckum in front of their foreclosed home after health challenges and his layoff in 2006.]

  • 2007

    - Annual unemployment rate: 4.6%

    The longest economic downturn since the Great Depression began in 2007 due largely to subprime mortgage lending and a severe Dow Jones dive, both of which decreased median U.S. income by 20% that year. Unemployment would rise 1.2% in one year, with millions of Americans losing their jobs.

  • 2008

    - Annual unemployment rate: 5.8%

    The 2008 financial crisis was in full swing and would raise the joblessness rate by 3.5% within less than a year. Despite the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, bank bailouts would still not be enough to keep the rate from rising so high in such a short time. The U.S. sliced 2.6 million jobs in 2008, causing serious financial devastation that would continue to rise along with joblessness.

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