Although the new claims for unemployment were lower than expected for the previous week, the October 2009 unemployment rate continued to climb, topping the 10 percent rate. The official Department of Labor unemployment rate for October comes in at 10.2 percent. This is up quite a bit from the 9.8 percent that the country faced in September 2009.

Approximately 558,000 Americans lost their job in October bringing the total unemployed count to 15.7 million. More than 35 percent of these 5.7 million unemployed Americans have been out of work for at least 27 weeks. When the recession started in December 2007, there were only 8.2 million people unemployed. The 10.2 percent unemployment rate is the highest that the nation has seen since April 1983.

Following is a sampling of job losses experienced in certain industries:

  • Construction employment – 62,000 job losses
  • Manufacturing – 61,000 job losses
  • Retail trade – 40,000 job losses
Health care jobs continue to rise adding approximately 29,000 new jobs during October 2009. The temporary services field also reported an increase in employment with 34,000 new jobs being reported. Although temporary work allows Americans to earn a paycheck, benefits are often spotty or cost-prohibitive and so it isn’t an ideal work situation for many.

Although I’ve heard the phrase “jobless recovery” used quite a bit over the past month, I was secretly hoping we’d see a stable or perhaps slightly better unemployment rate. I was actually mildly surprised to see the October 2009 unemployment rate jump up to 10.2 percent.

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