The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the October unemployment numbers and, unfortunately, they are worse than expected.
The unemployment rate rose .4% over last month to 10.2% — the highest it’s been in 26 years. Economists had predicted the rate would hit 9.9%.
Also in October, 190,000 jobs were lost, putting the nation’s total number of out of work people at 15.7 million. Of these, one-third or 5.6 million have been out of work for more than six months. The greatest losses were seen in the construction, manufacturing and retail sectors. 40,000 retail jobs were cut — which isn’t exactly good news for those in search of seasonal retail jobs.
While the October job losses are still high by historical standards, they do reflect some improvement since the worst of the recession, which saw 741,000 layoffs last January. Economists are now predicting that the job market will begin to see some modest gains (i.e. a net positive number of jobs added to the economy) by the 2nd quarter of 2010.
Until then, Congress and the White House are working to extend benefits to help the long-term unemployed. President Obama will sign a bill today that extends unemployment to 20 weeks.