Despite the “busy holiday shopping season”, December 2009 unemployment remained at 10.0 percent, which is exactly what it was in November 2009. Being the optimist that I am, I’ll say that no change is better than an increased unemployment rate. However, 10.0 percent unemployment is still extraordinarily high.
Continuing with the trend from earlier in 2009, temporary and health care workers saw an uptick in employment while those in construction, manufacturing, and wholesale trade continued to see losses.
Although the overall unemployment rate remained unchanged, the amount of individuals that have been without work for at least 27 weeks has continued to rise. In December 2009, 40 percent of unemployed individuals were out of work for 27+ weeks.
The problem with this is that as unemployment benefits run out, these individuals are left in an even more precarious situation than they were while receiving benefits. With the jobless rate continuing to be twice what it was at the start of the recession, the end is not yet in sight.
However, about 929,000 of these workers are considered discouraged. They have stopped looking for work because, in their opinion, there are no jobs available. Nearly 1.6 million marginally attached unemployed workers are in school attempting to further their education to open up more job opportunities or have decided to take care of family members until the job market recovers.
Since the recession began in December 2007, 1.6 million construction jobs have been lost and 2.1 million jobs in manufacturing have been eliminated. As the housing market starts to recover in certain areas of the country and with the stock market back up over 10,000, the nation is still being threatened with a jobless recovery.
Next month, when the January 2010 employment situation is released, we’ll be seeing some changes to the data. The report will contain information about the unemployment rate of veterans, individuals with a disability, and individuals born in a foreign country.