Atlanta, GA 7/2/2009 9:58:39 PM
News / Business

June Unemployment Rate in U.S. Hits 26-Year High at 9.6 Percent

The unemployment rate hit a 26-year high after U.S. cut 467,000 workers in June, according to reports.


The June cuts were larger than expected, prompting the current unemployment rate in the U.S. to be 9.7 percent. The reductions in employees nationwide were expected to be 363,000 in June.


The Labor Department issued a statement Thursday, saying that companies are still trying to maintain low labor costs until they are certain that the economy is back on the upswing.


The 9.6 percent unemployment rate is an increase from the 9.4 percent rate in May, but economists expect the jobless rate to be above 10 percent and to keep rising heading into next year, according to the Associated Press.


All together, 14.7 million people were unemployed in June.


If laid-off workers who have given up looking for new jobs or have settled for part-time work are included, the unemployment rate would have been 16.5 percent in June, the highest on records dating to 1994.


Since the recession began in December 2007, the economy has lost a net total of 6.5 million jobs.


The average work week in June fell to 33 hours, the lowest on records dating to 1964

Layoffs in May turned out to smaller, 322,000, versus the 345,000 first reported. But job cuts in April were a big deeper -- 519,000 versus 504,000, according to government data.


Even with higher pace of job cuts in June, the report indicates that the worst of the layoffs have passed. The deepest job cuts of the recession came in January, when 741,000 jobs vanished, the most in any month since 1949.


In a separate report, the department said the number of newly laid-off workers filing applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to 614,000, in line with economists' predictions. The number of people continuing to draw benefits unexpectedly dropped to 6.7 million.


Professional and business services slashed 118,000 jobs, more than double the 48,000 cut in May. Manufacturers cut 136,000, down from 156,000. Construction companies got rid of 79,000 jobs, up from 48,000 the previous month. Retailers eliminated 21,000, up from 17,600. Financial activities cut 27,000, following 30,000 in May. The government cut 52,000 jobs, up from 10,000 the previous month. Leisure and hospitality cut 18,000 jobs, erasing a gain of the same size in May.


One of the few industries adding jobs: education and health services, which added 34,000 positions last month and 47,000 in May.




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