Jobless total exceeds population of all but four states

Zachary Roth

America's jobless crisis has been going on so long that the raw numbers have lost much of their power to convey the severity of the problem. The Wall Street Journal's David Wessel has found a clever new way to get at the issue.

Wessel notes that there are more officially unemployed people in the United States (13.9 million, though if you count those who have given up looking it's nearly twice that) than the total individual populations of 46 out of 50 U.S. states.

Or, if you prefer: There are more offically unemployed Americans than the combined population of Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Idaho and the District of Columbia.

Or finally: There are more unemployed Americans than the total population of Greece or Portugal, both of which have 10.8 million people. And more than twice as many as the total population of Norway, which has 4.7 million people.