Unemployment Hits 8.5% Says BLSApril 06, 2009 by Candice A
As we welcome in the month of April and continued hope of seeing an upturn in the economy, the unemployment rate remained on the rise, climbing from 8.1% to 8.5%. And like a broken record, job losses continued to be large and widespread across the major industry sectors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor (BLS). Indeed, over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has increased by about 5.3 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 3.4 percentage points.
Since the recession began in December 2007, about 5.1 million jobs have been lost, with almost two-thirds (3.3 million) of the decrease occurring in the last 5 months. As reported by BLS, March saw employment decline in most major industry sectors, with sustained losses occurring in professional and business services, manufacturing, and construction. Conversely, health care continued to trend upwards over the month registering a gain of 14,000; however, monthly job growth in the first quarter averaged 17,000 as compared with 30,000 per month in 2008.
Additional report findings reveal that employment in professional and business services fell by 133,000 in March, with declines throughout most of the sector. More than half of the loss occurred in temporary help services, which cut 72,000 jobs in March and 767,000 since December 2007. Furthermore, employment in financial activities continued to decline in March (-43,000). The number of jobs in this industry has dropped by 495,000 since an employment peak in December 2006, with half of this loss occurring in the past 7 months.
In addition, employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend down over the month shedding 40,000 jobs, with most of the decrease in the accommodation industry (-23,000). The change in total nonfarm employment for January was revised from -655,000 to -741,000 while the change for February remained -651,000, according to BLS. Monthly revisions are a result of additional sample reports and the monthly recalculation of seasonal factors.
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