Quick Takes | Jobs and Unemployment

Unemployment rate drops to 9.7% despite more job losses

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The latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows a loss of 20,000 jobs in January. The total number of payroll jobs lost since the start of the recession in December 2007 now stands at 8.4 million.
Given the slight decline in payroll jobs in January, there was an inexplicable decline in unemployment in January from 10% in December. Long term unemployment, however, continued to rise, with over 40% of the nation’s unemployed out of work for more than 6 months, a new record.
In a testament to the enormity of the current crisis, the U.S. labor market started 2010 with fewer jobs than it had a decade ago, in January 2000, even though the labor force has grown by almost 11 million workers since then.
Policy makers need to pass a substantial jobs bill, because if anything should be seen as too big to fail, it should be the livelihood of America’s working families. –Heidi Shierholz


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