US unemployment rate highest in 26 years

Friday, September 4, 2009

Official United States government data revealed on Friday that the jobless rate in the US rose to 9.7% last month, with the economy having shed 216,000 jobs. The unemployment rate is the highest it has been since June 1983.

According to revised government statistics, 276,000 jobs were lost in July and a further 463,000 in June. The figures were higher than earlier estimates of 247,000 and 443,000.

The economy has lost 6.9 million jobs since the recession officially began in December 2007. The total number of unemployed in the country is now at 14.9 million.

Nigel Gault, the chief economist at IHS Global Insight, said that the news was not as bad as it seemed, saying that "the decline last month was too good to be true, really. It's too early for the unemployment rate to be coming down, of course we're still losing jobs."

"What I would take encouragement from is the fact is the trend in the rate of decline in jobs is still improving, that private sector jobs were down 198,000, that's 50,000 better than the previous month and it's almost 200,000 better than the month before that," he said.