September 4, 2009

Unemployment at historic high, but layoff rate slows significantly

Another first Friday of the month, another unemployment report. This one is a real mixed bag. First, the really bad news: The unemployment rate is 9.7% — the highest it has been since June, 1983.

Unemployment creeped up from a rate of 9.4% in July, and many economists predict that it will top out at 10% by the end of the year.

The news on the “expanded” rate of unemployment is even worse. It rose from 16.3% in July to 16.8% in August. Many economists believe this metric, which takes into account those who have given up searching out of frustration or who have taken a part-time job while still looking for full-time work, is the true measure of our nation’s out-of-work.

Now for the less bad news: “Only” 216,000 people were laid off last month. Obviously for those individuals who lost their job last month, the news is hardly good, but the rate has slowed considerably since the beginning of the summer. The total number of layoffs since the recession started in December 2007 stands at 6.9 million.  The layoff rate in August was the slowest rate since last August 2008.

So, those are the facts & figures, but how is this really affecting you? Do you think the economy is turning around? Are you feeling an improvement or do you think we are months away from the start of recovery?

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