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U.S. unemployment October 2009: UP to 10.2%

Well, we now have double-digit unemployment in the United States. According to the Employment Situation Summary (of the Bureau of Labor Statistics) and a radio broadcast that I heard this morning, we reached 10.2% unemployment in October 2009, up from 9.8% in September 2009. The radio broadcast also stated that 1 of every 3 unemployed people has been without a job for over 6 months!

It is probably important to remember how we reached this point. THIS time around, it was the unbridled greed of the financial sector and petroleum industry, aided and abetted by two administrations of George W. Bush‘s laissez-faire capitalism. Even the transition, during the George W. Bush administrations, from a budget surplus to a budget deficit, and two concurrent wars, could not rescue the economy this time.

Nonfarm payroll employment in October 2009 continued to decline, (-190,000). The largest job losses in October were in construction, manufacturing, and retail trade. During October, the number of unemployed persons increased by 558,000 to 15.7 million people. The unemployment rate rose by 0.4%, to 10.2%, the highest rate since April 1983. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed people has increased by 8.2 million, and the unemployment rate has increased by 5.3 percentage points.

“Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (10.7 percent) and whites (9.5 percent) rose in October. The jobless rates for adult women (8.1 percent), teenagers (27.6 percent), blacks (15.7 percent), and Hispanics (13.1 percent) were little changed over the month. The unemployment rate for Asians was 7.5 percent, not seasonally adjusted.”

The number of long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 or more weeks) was little changed at 5.6 million in October. Some 35.6% of the unemployed were without jobs for 27 weeks or more. The number of people who worked part-time for economic reasons (the “involuntary part-time workers”) was little changed in October, at 9.3 million.

“About 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in October, reflecting an increase of 736,000 from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.”

“Among the marginally attached, there were 808,000 discouraged workers in October, up from 484,000 a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The other 1.6 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in October had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.”

Construction lost 62,000 jobs in October. Manfacturing lost 61,000 jobs in October; retain trade lost 40,000 jobs. In retail trade, the job losses were concentrated in sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores, and in department stores.

Health care employment continued to INCREASE in October, adding 29,000 jobs.

Tables of more detailed statistics are provided in the Bureau of Labor Statistics report.

-Bill at Cheshire Cat Photo™

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