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Tuesday 23rd of March 2010
September 4, 2009    

US unemployment rate at 26-year high

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by Kay Murchie
US unemployment rate at 26-year high

The Labor Department has today revealed that the US unemployment rate has hit a 26-year high of 9.7% - analysts had been expecting a rise to 9.5%.

Figures show that 216,000 jobs were lost in August in the world’s largest economy and since the start of the recession in December 2007, the economy has lost 6.9 million jobs and there are currently 14.9 million unemployed Americans.

However, the figure of 216,000 was the lowest number of job losses in a year. In January this year, there were almost three quarters of a million people put out of work.

In July, the unemployment rate dipped slightly to 9.4% after the US economy lost fewer jobs than expected.

Many economists believe the US unemployment rate could reach 10% by the end of 2009.

Recently, there have been signs that the economy is emerging from the worst recession in several decades due to a levelling out in consumer spending and stability within the housing market and manufacturing sector.

However, minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting warned that unemployment may affect consumer behaviour but, in general, US policymakers were optimistic that the downturn is coming to an end.

Commenting on today’s figures, the Labour Department said: “Although the job losses continued in major industry sectors in August, the declines have moderated in recent months.”

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