US Unemployment Rate Reaches 26-year High in June
Jobs fell farther than the 350,000 economists were predicting, and June marked the end of a declining trend that began after January’s peak job loss figure. Since then, the number of jobs lost each month had declined—until June’s number increased over May by 145,000. (May’s job decline had been reported at 345,000, but has been adjusted to 322,000.)
Since the recession began in December, 2007, the number of jobless Americans has increased by 7.2 million; the unemployment rate has increased by 4.6%. Blacks, Hispanics, and teenagers have higher rates of unemployment than the general population, at 14.7 percent, 12.2 percent, and 24 percent, respectively. These numbers show little change from May’s figures.
Construction and manufacturing jobs continue to take the biggest hit in the sliding U.S. economy. Manufacturing dropped over 136,000 workers, and construction employment declined by 79,000 in June—a smaller decline than the rest of the year. Since the start of the recession, manufacturing employment has decreased by 1.9 million, and construction by 1.3 million.
The professional and business services sector lost 116,000 jobs, and federal government jobs were cut by 49,000 in June—mostly workers hired to prepare for the 2010 Census. Even temporary help services are on the decline: by 38,000 in June and 848,000 since the start of the recession. Automobile dealership closures affected June’s numbers: 9,000 jobs were lost in this category. And overall retail jobs declined by 21,000. Losses in retail jobs have leveled out over the past three months.
Financial services continue to shed jobs: 27,000 in June, to bring the total lost in financial services to 489,000 since the recession’s beginning in December, 2007. The information industry lost 21,000 jobs in June, and is down by 187,000 since the recession began. Publishing has accounted for about half the total job losses in this category.
The only real increase was seen in education and health care, which added 34,000 jobs in June. Health care job increases have averaged 21,000 per month, which is down from 2008’s average of 30,000 per month.
A broader indicator of the state of unemployment is the number of Americans who have given up looking for a job, or who are working part-time when they want full-time work: this number rose to 16.5% in June.
June’s unemployment figure tempered signs of progress in the US economy, and reiterate the fact that the job market remains weak—something 14.7 million Americans know only too well.
Source: United States Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics