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Unemployment Rate Falls to 9.4%: Sign of a Turnaround?

Unemployment Rate Falls to 9.4%: Sign of a Turnaround?

The economy added 103,000 jobs in December, according to the Labor Department, a number that falls below the expected figure of 150,000. Jobless rate falls from 9.8% to 9.4%, the lowest level since May of 2009, according to CNN.  Overall, 2010 saw a total of 1.1 million jobs added, the best one-year gain in hiring since 2007.

So is this the first sign of a turnaround in the labor market?

Possibly. But economists noted that at least 300,000 jobs need to be added to make a change in the unemployment rate. 

Since the start of the Great Recession, a total of 8.5 million jobs have been lost.  In December, more than 14.5 million people were out of work, including 6.4 million who have been jobless for six months or longer.

Further, all of the 103,000 jobs created are in the private sector. The federal, state and local governments continued to lose jobs at a rate of 10,000 in December 2010 and 8,000 in November. It’s predicted that state and local municipalities will continue to shed jobs as they seek to control their deficits.

As a small case in point: Here in New Jersey, I’ve been struck by how impossible it seems for a recent college graduate to get a position—even a one-year leave-replacement position—-teaching in public schools. In the past few years, many of my students who have graduated with teaching credentials in hand are working as substitute teachers and/or in part-time positions at private (often religious schools), or not in schools at all.  For today’s generation, getting an education degree is no longer a surefire route to a job.

Congress returned to Washington this week and the Republicans have made the economy and job creation a priority. With his recent choice of William Daley as White House Chief of Staff, President Obama seems to be sending a signal that he will be making the economy and employment his focus. Later today, the President is expected to announce the choice choice of Gene Sperling to replace Lawrence Summers as director of the National Economic Council, according to White House officials.  Like Daley, Sperling has close ties to the banking industry. He made nearly $900,000 working part-time on a philanthropic project for Goldman Sachs, plus $150,000 giving speeches to financial firms

But as Steven Blitz, a senior economist for ITG Investment Research, is quoted in today’s New York Times:

“…will high unemployment be an enduring feature of the United States’ economy?”

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64 comments

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7:41PM PST on Jan 15, 2011

Our electorate has sold our economy, and therefore the administration of our country, to the Chinese, and the bits and pieces left over will go to Russia.

7:40PM PST on Jan 15, 2011

It sure is, around and around and around it goes, and where it stops, everyone knows, right on that "BROKE. depression in the financial roulette wheel.

4:48AM PST on Jan 14, 2011

The era of de-regulation has allowed all of our industry to go overseas where large corporations can operate and gain higher profits. Our job deficits will not ease until we restore our manufacturing presence. We were once the leader in manufacturing, it needs to come back.

8:36AM PST on Jan 10, 2011

Where is this coming from? My roommate can't find a job and he has been trying for a year! My place of work has seen a 50% loss of customers. Last year January to March I only worked 3-5 days a week, when I tried to get partial uniployment nothing hapened! SO DO NOTTELL ME THE ECONIMY IS BOUNCING BACK AND MORE PEOPLE ARE WORKING!

6:22AM PST on Jan 10, 2011

How the Hell is the economy going to turn around? NAFTA sent the good paying jobs out of the country and, thanks to Nixon, everything we buy in this country is made in China. There's no jobs, at least no good paying jobs, to help the economy improve. If you're lucky, you can get a part time, minimum wage job.

8:35PM PST on Jan 9, 2011

It more clearly shows how many are "discouraged" and how many have run out of benefits. Real unemployment (U6) is closer to 18%.

5:28PM PST on Jan 9, 2011

What these numbers fail to show is how many people fall off the back end - in other words, they stop looking or perhaps take on part time work which is not enough to support them but too much to still be deemed unemployed. Also during the holidays, I'm sure retailers hired part time workers, most with out benefits.
I know for a fact that our local Walmarts will rarely allow full time employment so they can avoid paying benefits. I know many people who somehow manage to cobble together several part time jobs to make ends meet (barely).
I believe if a truly comprehensive survey was done we would see upwards of 16-18% un- and underemployed.

2:03PM PST on Jan 9, 2011

Did an INTERN add the numbers up on this dumb announcement? FALSE PROMISES = FALSE RESULTS !

1:19PM PST on Jan 9, 2011

Local governments are just beginning massive layoffs.
They've killed off enough small businesses that there won't be a job recovery.

11:57AM PST on Jan 9, 2011

I seriously doubt it.

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