September 4, 2009

U.S. unemployment jumps to 9.7 percent

The U.S. Department of Labor said unemployment leaped in August to 9.7 percent on a loss of 216,000 jobs.

The number is a slap-in-the-face compared to a month ago, when the unemployment rate eased from 9.5 percent to 9.4 percent, eliciting congratulatory comments from the White House.

The Labor Department said the total number of unemployed stood at 14.9 million workers with the addition of 466,000 unemployed persons in the month.

In August, 9.1 million workers were mired in part-time jobs for economic reasons and 2.3 million were marginally attached to the labor force, meaning they had looked for work in the past 12 months and found none.

Among the marginally attached, the category of discouraged workers -- workers not looking due to the belief there is no job available --- reached 758,000, nearly double the number of a year ago.

The Labor Department said the construction sector lost 65,000 jobs in August; manufacturing lost 63,000; finance lost 28,000.

Wholesale trades dropped 17,000 jobs in the month. Retail held relatively steady. Heathcare, again, swam against the tide, adding 28,000 jobs in the month.