Unemployment rate hits 5-year high of 6.1%

Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 03:15 am
Unemployment surges to 5-year high as employers cut workers for eighth straight month. Total job losses for 2008: 605,000.

The unemployment rate soared to a nearly five-year high in August as employers trimmed jobs for the eighth straight month, the government reported Friday.

The unemployment rate rose to 6.1%, the highest level since September 2003. That's up from 5.7% in July and 4.7% a year ago.

In addition, the economy suffered a net loss of 84,000 jobs in August, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, compared to a revised reading of a 60,000 job loss in July.


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Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 09:39 am
Here's a few interesting paragraphs from that story:

CNN wrote:
Manufacturing lost 61,000 jobs, while construction employment fell by 8,000. But the job losses were widespread and went beyond those two troubled sectors.

Retailers trimmed 20,000 jobs despite the back-to-school shopping season, which for many stores is typically second in sales only to the holiday period. Business and professional services - a broad category that includes industries such as accountants, consultants and legal services - lost 53,000 workers. Leisure and hospitality cut 4,000 jobs.

The few sectors showing gains were government as well as education and health services, which gained 72,000 between them to temper the losses elsewhere.

I suspect that the cut in leisure employment is more or less typical for the end of the Summer. Plus accounting, I imagine, will see an upsurge when the Tax Season rolls around again (start of the next calendar year). Plus the increase in education jobs, ya gotta figure that that dovetails with the start of the academic year.

The rest of it is different, though, and the cut in retail employment seems particularly troubling. I wonder if we are going to see Christmas specials even earlier this year, as companies may try to cram in as much profit as possible before year-end. Not that they don't already do that, but I bet it becomes even more pronounced this year.
Green Witch
Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 10:24 am
@Robert Gentel,
We received a record number of calls this year of people looking for work. Most were coming from the construction industry which is understandable since the housing market sucks and we do landscaping. For the majority of them it meant lower wages and a loss of benefits, but most were still interested because of the lack of opportunities.
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Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 10:31 am
Education is adding jobs and still the job seekers are saturating the market - at least around here.
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Reply Fri 19 Sep, 2008 01:47 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Everyone should pay careful attention to the official reports of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. There one can find the Unemployment numbers going back for decades.

Economists generally agree on several key points--

a. Unenployment Numbers will vary---It might be noted that during President Clinton's first term, the Unemployment rate was higher than 6.1 % for 19 of his 48 months in office.

b. A 5% Unemployment rate( according to most economists means that employment is nearly at top since there are ALWAYS at least five percent of the population who have left one job and are looking for another.

c. Unemployment rates differ according to educational status. Those who are college graduates are always at the lowest rate of unemployment and are usually unemployed for the shortest time. Those, who for whatever reason, have been unable to obtain even a high school diploma are always overrepresented among the unemployed.

d. "Creative Destruction" of jobs throughout our History has always led to Unemployment. Those who made buggy whips soon learned that, due to the advent of the automobile, there would soon be no market for their product.
Those employed by the buggy whip industry who had skills, training or education which enabled them to go to another job, usually did well.
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