Unemployment Rate Reaches Highest Level In Over 14 Years

Source: Heidi Shierholz, Economic Policy Institute, Jobs Picture, November 7, 2008

Payroll employment declined for the 10th month in a row, dropping by another 240,000 in October alone, according to today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Furthermore, data revisions show that an additional 179,000 jobs were lost in previous months than initially reported. That brings the total number of job losses to 651,000 in the last three months and 1.2 million since December 2007…. Over the past 18 months, 3.3 million workers have been added to the jobless rolls, and there are currently 10.1 million unemployed workers in this country. The unemployment rate rose from 6.1% in September to 6.5% in October, its highest rate since March 1994. Underemployment, a more comprehensive measure of the extent of labor market weakness, rose to 11.8%, its highest level in over 14 years. Underemployment’s growth is primarily due to a surge in people working part-time but wanting full-time jobs–up 645,000 from September to October, and by 2.3 million over the past year.

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