Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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Unemployment in December 2010 Falls to 9.4%

The job market began to show signs of recovery in December 2010 as the unemployment rate fell to its lowest point in nineteen months.

The national unemployment rate fell significantly in December to 9.4%, down from 9.8% in November, the Labor Department’s Bureau of of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated in its latest employment report.

Last month’s unemployment rate was a half percent below its reported level in December 2009 when it was 9.9% - just two months after the unemployment peak of 10.1% in October 2009.

For all of last year, the unemployment rate remained at or above 9.5%, and increased by .1% for three consecutive months until the big drop in December.

The national number of unemployed persons decreased by 556,000 to 14.5 million in December. In December 2009, the number of unemployed was 15.2 million.

Another 8.9 million are classified as involuntary part-time workers. This group consists of people who would rather work full-time, but either took a part-time position because they could not find a full-time position, or had a full-time position but accepted having their hours cut in order to keep their job.

The number of those classified as marginally-attached to the labor force remained about the same at 2.6 million in December. This group consists of people who would have liked to work but did not look for work in the four weeks preceding the BLS survey.

The marginally-attached group is split about 50/50 as discouraged workers and those who did not look for work due to family or school responsibilities. Discouraged workers are people who want to work and have looked for work sometime in the past year, but have given up looking because they don’t believe there are any jobs out there for them.

The number of long-term unemployed persons was essentially the same at 6.4 million and account for 44.3% of all the unemployed.

Among the major worker groups as classified by the BLS, teenagers continue to have the highest unemployment rate at 25.4%. Teen unemployment has skyrocketed in this wounded labor market as more experienced and mature workers desperate for work take on positions traditionally reserved for young people.

The unemployment rate for blacks at 15.8% and Hispanics at 13% showed little change over the month and remain at elevated levels.

The unemployment rate for adult women also stood still at 8.1% in December, while the rate for adult men fell to 9.4% and the rate for whites fell to 8.5%. The unemployment rate for Asians was 7.2%.

Employment gains were most notable in health care and leisure and hospitality, with most other sectors little changed in employment numbers.

Labor Secretary Hilda L. Solis said in a statement, “While the employment situation is clearly improving, my mission remains the same: to create good and safe jobs for everyone. It is what the American people are counting on and a goal we will continue to keep at the forefront of everything we do."

Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Wednesday, 24 April 2024

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