June 8, 2009

In the News: Mixed Signals on Unemployment Front

The Labor Department released unemployment numbers for the month of May on Friday, revealing some good news / bad news for the U.S. economy.

345,000 Americans lost their jobs in May — far fewer than experts had predicted. In January, 741,000 Americans were laid off — more than double May’s numbers. The dramatic slowdown in the rate of job loss is seen as a positive sign that the recession could be coming to an end.

On the other hand, with 345,000 more people now looking for a job, plus most of those laid off early in the year still job searching, the unemployment rate continued to climb — from 8.9 percent to 9.4 percent, the highest its been since 1983.

In fact, economists expect this trend to continue. Even as employers stop laying workers off, the unemployment rate will likely continue to climb. Experts predict that the rate will reach double digits this summer and not start to fall until 2010.

Even more discouraging is the fact that official unemployment rate is likely much lower than the actual rate of unemployed in America. To be officially listed as unemployed, one must be actively looking for a job. So, when considering those who want a job but have given up on finding one — or who have taken on a part-time job just to have some income source while job searching — the actual rate of unemployment is likely as high as one in six Americans, not one in ten.

To read more about May’s unemployment report and see how it might affect your job search, read one of these stories from the Washington Post, Kansas City Star, or Boston Globe.

Also, for some tips on finding a job during a recession, check out these past blog posts:

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