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by SixFigureStart | August 07, 2009


Did we break free of the tyranny of unemployment after Independence Day?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its unemployment findings for July. Here's the deets: The agency measured the first slide (however small) in the unemployment rate since April 2008. The 9.4% rate was off from June's 9.5% figure. The number of jobs shed in July was 247,000, far lower than June and also below the 345,000 amount for May, the previous low point. July data was better than most economists had projected (325,000 and 9.6% unemployment).

That's not to say that the carnage is over -- most analysts agree that even if the pace of layoffs continues to drop, serious improvement won't arrive quickly. Before they undertake actual hiring, most companies will take on temp workers and/or spend more on overtime. In addition, personnel gains must reach a certain level just to hold steady to account for new entrants to the workforce. During the month, hospitality and the government added 16,000 positions in total, and healthcare alone added 17,000. Losers (again!) were retail, construction and manufacturing, though that last sector posted its smallest job loss numbers in a while.

For those still keeping score, in the 19 months since December 2007, more than 6.7 million people have been laid off.

--Posted by Todd Obolsky, Vault Staff Writer


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