Posts Tagged ‘Unemployment Rate’

US Unemployment Rate Reaches 26-year High in June

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

June 2009 Job Losses on Employee Screening BlogEmployers slashed 467,000 jobs in June, to bring the US unemployment rate closer to double-digit levels. The jobless rate is now 9.5%, up slightly from May’s 9.4% figure.

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.

unemployment image on employeescreeningblog.comThe number of long-term unemployed, who are classified as jobless for 27 weeks or more, increased by 433,000 in June, to 4.4 million.

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

Here’s Some Good Economic News for a Change

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

glass-half-full on employeescreeningblog.comRate of Job Losses, Layoffs Slowing Down
Two reports released on Wednesday
show that the US job loss rate may finally be slowing. While jobs are still going away, at least the rate at which companies are cutting workers is lessening a bit.

Automatic Data Processing is a payroll processing firm that released the first report, based on payroll data from 500,000 US businesses. It revealed a silver lining in April 2009’s decrease of 491,000 in private-sector employment: the figure is down considerably when compared to the 708,000 jobs lost in March. And economists surveyed by had expected job loses of 643,000 last month, so things weren’t as dim as predicted.

The second report released yesterday was from an outplacement firm, Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. The company reports that the number of layoffs announced last month fell for the third month in a row, from 150,411 in March to 132,590 in April. That figure, while still 47% higher than April of 2008, is the lowest announced layoff rate since last October.

2009 has seen announced job cuts of 711,100, compared to 290,671 for the first quarter of 2008. Friday’s Labor Department report will reveal April’s total nationwide job losses, including government, private, and non-profit sectors, expected to be 630,000. The number of jobs lost still reflects a recession economy, and job losses are expected to continue; however, the slowdown in the rate of losses could indicate the U.S. is approaching the bottom of the job loss curve.

Lower New Claims for Unemployment
Last week the Labor Department’s total for new unemployment claims fell by 14,000 to 631,000. The four-week average also declined to 637,250. Economists watch the latter number closely, as it historically has helped them predict when recessions will end. The number peaked in the week ending April 4, so a continuing decrease could indicate the end of the recession tunnel is in sight.

Discount Retail Sales Up in April
Target showed just a slight increase over April 2008 in same-store sales, but overall sales were up 4.5%. Walmart boosted same-store sales of 5.9% in April, while overall sales were up a healthy 7.7%. Ross Stores showed same-store sales increased 6%; overall sales were up an impressive 11% for April 2009.

While other retailers showed continuing sales declines, discount remains a bright spot; seeing these retail giants staying strong is a good economic indicator!

Finding economic good news is not easy, but it’s out there. Employers need to know that all is not as dire as it has been, and there are signs that the economy is starting to improve!

Sources: the Wall Street Journal; ADC; Challenger, Gray & Christmas