Unemployment soars to 9.7%

The US has lost another 216,000 jobs in August bringing the unemployment rate at its highest since July 1983.  Rising to 9.7% following a decline last month from 9.5% to 9.4%, the job cuts seen in August are still better than the 233,000 that economists predicted.  This increase in the unemployment rate only highlights that last month’s slight decrease was nothing but a blip and job cuts are not yet over for the United States. Despite the rising rate, this is an improvement from the 277,000 seen last month and more than 700,000 seen earlier in the year. Since December 2007, the economy has lost 7.4 million jobs.

The numbers:

Construction employment decline by 65,000 while manufacturing was slightly lower with 63,000 cuts. It is however much brighter for the financial services which only shed 28,000 jobs in August. Wholesale trade employment fell by 17,000 while there was little change for the retail trade industry.

Health care continued to be a source of jobs, this time for 28,000 people. Contrary to other industries, the health care sector has provided 544,000 new jobs since the recession began at the end of 2007.

More from the report:

In August, the average workweek for production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at 33.1 hours. The manufacturing workweek and factory overtime also showed no change over the month (at 39.8 hours and 2.9 hours, respectively).

In August, average hourly earnings of production and nonsupervisory workers on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 6 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $18.65. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.6 percent, while average weekly earnings have risen by only 0.8 percent due to declines in the average workweek.

Unemployment for June was revised from 443,000 to 463,000, and that for July went from 247,000 to 276,000.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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