US unemployment rate surpasses 10%

Friday, November 6, 2009

The unemployment rate in the United States has surpassed ten percent, according to figures released by the US Department of Labor on Friday.

The jobless rate, now at 10.2%, is the highest it has been since April 1983, and was an increase over September's level of 9.8%. 190,000 jobs in total were lost last month, and 8.2 million total people have become unemployed since the recession officially began in December 2007.

"It's pretty disappointing overall. Job losses are not moderating as quickly as I had hoped despite those earlier indicators on jobs," economic analyst Richard Franulovich at the Westpac financial services company said.

Some economists say the jobless rate could reach 10.5% next year because employers are still reluctant to hire. Economist James Shugg predicted the weakness in the US job market is expected to continue.

"It is a lot easier for firms to make the decision not to lay someone off than it is actually to decide to take someone on," Shugg said. "I think we are still at that point, the firms are getting less aggressive in terms of job cutting. But putting people on is still a little way to come yet."

Despite the news, most analysts have said that this is an improvement in a way, as the rate of job losses has slowed in the past year. This January, for instance, saw 741,000 job cuts. The US gross domestic product also grew by 3.5% from July through September. President Barack Obama, however, suggested that the jobless rate may still continue to rise in the immediate future. "We are just not where we need to be yet. We've got a long way to go," he said.