Highest Unemployment in Three Decades

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Dorothy Rowley
National Newspaper Publishers Association
February 11, 2009

It has been described as the worst labor market since December 1974.

With nearly 600,000 jobs alone lost this past January, the already dismal unemployment rate has been boosted from 7.2 percent to 7.6 percent, according to a report released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A survey by Briefing.com also states that the government’s latest assessment of the labor market is even worst than the predictions of economists who had believed that the number of people without jobs by the end of 2008 would have petered off to about 540,000.

The Labor Department, which referenced the loss to nonfarm payrolls, added that such employment has declined by 3.6 million since the start of the recession in December 2007; and that about one-half of the decline occurred over the past three months.

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The department said many of the losses have occurred across nearly all major industry sectors, bringing the national unemployment rate to its highest level since September 1992. As for who has been impacted by the increase in unemployment, Blacks led the pack at a rate of 12.6 percent and Hispanics at 9.7 percent.

The labor report goes on to state that as bad as the nation’s unemployment has been, it only tells part of the story of people struggling to find jobs. Consequently, 2.6 million people have now been out of work for more than six months, the most long-term unemployed since 1983.

Now more anxious than ever to press forward with his economic stimulus package, President Barack Obama has called for aggressive action to offset the urgency of situation.

”This is not some abstract debate,” said Obama Feb. 7. ”It is an urgent and growing crisis that can only be fully understood through the unseen stories that lie underneath each and every one of those 600,000 jobs that were lost.”

While retailers are still reeling from the slump in holiday spending, manufacturing employment fell by 207,000 in January – the largest one-month decline since October 1982 – and at the same time, the temporary help industry lost 76,000 jobs.

However, since its recent peak in December 2006, temporary help employment has declined by 695,000, and according to other labor statistics, professional and technical services last month lost 29,000 jobs.

This article was posted: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 at 3:18 pm







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