Friday, August 7, 2009

Jobless rate down for first time in a year

The Labor Department reported a net loss of 247,000 jobs in July, the fewest job losses since August 2008. Economists surveyed by had forecast a loss of 325,000.
The job loss in June was also revised lower -- to 443,000 job losses from 467,000.
The unemployment rate fell to 9.4% from 9.5% in June, the first decline in that closely watched reading since April of 2008. Economists had expected unemployment to rise to 9.6%.
The unemployment rate fell even as employers continued to cut jobs because the Labor Department estimated there were 237,000 fewer people it counted as unemployed.
That decline in the labor force can be due to discouraged job seekers who have stopped looking for work, people who now consider themselves retired or those have gone back to school rather than applying for jobs.
The average hourly work week edged up to 33.1 hours, from a record low of 33.0 hours in June. The number of workers who wanted full-time work but could only find part-time jobs fell by 191,000, or 2%. That suggests that many workers who had their hours cut or were given unpaid days off in the current downturn are going back to full-time status.

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