Unemployment Rate Highest in 26 Years – Jumps To 10.2 Percent

November 6, 2009

(ChattahBox) — The unemployment rate surpassed 10 percent for the first time since 1983, rising to a deeper than expected 10.2 percent in October from 9.8 percent a month earlier. Nearly 16 million people can’t find jobs and employers cut a net total of 190,000 jobs in October, an improvement from a revised estimate of 219,000 job losses in September, according to figures released from the US Labor Department Friday.

The largest job losses over the month were in manufacturing employment, which fell 61,000 last month, construction industries payrolls dropped 62,000, and retail trade was down 40,000.  Private economists had forecast that the unemployment rate would rise to 9.9 percent from 9.8 percent in September, and that jobs would drop by about 175,000 jobs in October. It’s the 22nd straight month the U.S. economy has shed jobs, the longest on records dating back 70 years.

The underemployment rate, which includes part-time workers, the jobless and those who have given up on searching, was 17.5 percent in October, the highest level since at least 1994.  There is great concern that rising unemployment could derail any recovery by restricting consumer spending, which accounts for 70% of the economy.  Friday’s report comes one day after Congress voted overwhelmingly to extend unemployment benefits by up to 20 weeks and  upbeat economic data on the jobs market and from several retailers helped the Dow push back above the 10000 level with a 203-point gain.  The dollar fell against both the euro and the yen following the release of the figures.

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