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12.5 Million Unemployed in August

The national unemployment rate fell from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent in August, according to Labor Department statistics released on Friday. The economy added 96,000 jobs last month - mostly in food services and drinking places, in professional and technical services, and in health care.

The number of long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks or more), 5 million, changed little in August and account for 40 percent of the unemployed.

Of the major worker groups as defined by the Labor Department, teenagers continue to have the highest unemployment rate, which rose from 23.8 percent to 24.6 percent in August. The jobless rate for adult men fell slightly from 7.7 percent to 7.6 percent in August, while the rate for adult women dipped from 7.5 percent to 7.3 percent.

Among races as classified by the Labor Department, blacks were the only group to have no change in unemployment rate, which held steady at 14.1 percent in August. The other race groups had a slight drop in jobless rates; the jobless rate for whites fell from 7.4 percent to 7.2 percent, the rate for Hispanics fell from 10.3 percent to 10.2 percent, and the rate for Asians fell from 6.2 percent to 5.9 percent in August.

Though it may appear that a falling jobless rate is a positive sign for the economy, the government’s numbers don’t tell the whole story - the decrease in the unemployment rate was primarily due to nearly 370,000 people dropping out of the labor force.

The government doesn’t count people as unemployed if they haven’t looked for work in the four weeks preceding the survey. And for the millions who have been searching for a job for months on end and have finally given up looking, they simply don’t count as “unemployed.” Neither do the under-employed, those who need a full-time job but settled for a part-time job because it was all they could get.

And the 96,000 jobs that were added in August were not enough to keep up with the population growth.

Overall, the number of officially recognized unemployed people - 12.5 million - changed little in August. Since the beginning of 2012, the national unemployment rate has ranged from 8.1% to 8.3%.

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Thursday, 09 July 2020

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