Unemployment Is, Frankly, Awful

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2009-06-19 Print this article Print

There's no way around it. While certain indicators are down, which is good news, state unemployment levels—based on the latest government numbers—are just plain ugly.

It's particularly bad in the West. Take a look at this (via the AP):

The Labor Department reported Friday that 48 states and the District of Columbia saw employment conditions deteriorate last month. The fallout from the longest recession since World War II was the worst in Michigan as automakers cut tens of thousands of jobs. Its unemployment rate rose to 14.1 percent.

The West region reported the highest jobless rate at 10.1 percent. The last time any region had a rate of at least 10 percent was September 1983, when the country was emerging from a severe recession.

The region is home to California, where the jobless rate jumped to a record 11.5 percent last month, Nevada, where it's a record 11.3 percent, and other states that have been slammed when the housing boom went bust—snatching jobs and wealth.

Just yesterday the government came out and said the number of people on the jobless rolls came down for the first time in years. Today, the unemployment numbers showed more downside as more claims are being put in. From a NY Times article:

But nearly half of the recipients at the end of last month had exhausted the 26 weeks of benefits provided under the regular state-level programs without finding work, according to Labor Department data. That was a record; the number was about 36 percent in December 2007, when the recession began.

It's simply amazing the number of jobs being lost on a continued basis. There are some glimmers of economic recovery, but they are overshadowed by the mounting job loss and lack of enough job replacement.

Here is a snapshot of the glimmer from May (from the Bureau of Labor Statistics report):

The largest over-the-month increases in employment occurred in

Massachusetts (4,900), Connecticut (3,600), North Dakota (3,000), and Alaska (2,900). Alaska (+0.9 percent) experienced the largest over-the-month percentage increase, followed by North Dakota

(+0.8 percent) and Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Mexico

(+0.2 percent each).

Hopefully, we see more of this in more states as the year progresses.

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