When we think about unemployment, we think about a number. It's 9.1 percent. That's the official jobless rate as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But "9.1 percent" doesn't begin to tell us how deep and widespread the jobs crisis truly is, why the president wants to spend $450 billion to combat it, or why some economists think it won't be enough. It doesn't tell us that young black men face unemployment way above 20 percent. It doesn't tell us about the last 40 years, when productivity raced away from wage growth and we made up the difference with debt that's come due.
To tell that story -- the story the president told in his speech last night -- you need some help. So I asked the folks at the Economic Policy Institute to direct me to data and charts that could make this narrative as clear as possible. How deep is the crisis, how wide is the impact, and where did all the money go if we've been creating growth without jobs? Here are some answers.