Latest jobs report: Unemployment by the numbers

Posted Sept. 05, 2010, at 7:53 a.m.
Louis Finkelman checks online job postings while attending a job fair in Southfield, Mich., Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010. More layoffs would weaken the economy further, as fewer jobs means less income for Americans to spend. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
AP
Louis Finkelman checks online job postings while attending a job fair in Southfield, Mich., Wednesday, Aug. 25, 2010. More layoffs would weaken the economy further, as fewer jobs means less income for Americans to spend. Consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

When the unemployment rate rose last month, the pain wasn’t spread evenly.

There is always statistical noise in month-to-month changes in the labor market, but some patterns are clear. Black workers still have a far higher unemployment rate than other groups measured by the Labor Department. And the gap appears to be widening. In August it hit 16.3 percent after being 15.6 in July.

For whites, the unemployment rate was 8.7 percent in August, up from 8.6 percent.

It’s unclear if the bigger jump in unemployment for black workers is a short-term fluke, said Heidi Shierholz, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute. The timing seems to correlate with the end of temporary census jobs, which might have gone disproportionately to black workers.

These and other details can be found in the government’s latest jobs report.

Private sector gaining steam …

67,000: Private-sector jobs added in August

107,000: Private-sector jobs added in July

61,000: Private-sector jobs added in June

… but public sector sputters

114,000: Number of temporary census positions cut

10,000: Number of state and local government positions cut

54,000: Net loss of jobs in the economy during July

Unemployment up slightly overall

9.6 percent: Unemployment rate in August

9.5 percent: Unemployment rate in July

550,000: New job hunters in August, which pushed up unemployment rate

More telling by race and ethnicity …

8.7 percent: White workers

16.3 percent: Black workers

12 percent: Hispanic workers

7.2 percent: Asian workers

… and even more by education

14 percent: Adults with no high school diploma

10.3 percent: Adults with a high school diploma

8.7 percent: Adults with some college education

4.6 percent: Adults with college degree

… and by age

26.3 percent: For workers 16 to 19 year olds

9.8 percent: Men ages 20 and older

8 percent: Women ages 20 and older

The long haul

33.6 weeks: Average length of unemployment in August

16.5 weeks: Average length of unemployment in December 2007, when the recession began

6.2 million: Number of people jobless for six months or longer

1.3 million: Number unemployed for that long in December 2007, when the recession began

Areas of strength …

28,000: Jobs added in hospitals, nursing and other health care sectors

19,000: Jobs added in construction

8,000: Jobs added by auto dealers

8,000: Jobs added in mining

17,000: Jobs added in temporary professional and business services

… and of weakness

-27,000: Job losses in manufacturing

-22,000: Job losses in the auto and auto parts manufacturing

-6,000: Job losses in building materials and garden supply stores

What comes next

Eager to jumpstart the economy ahead of crucial midterm elections, President Barack Obama said Friday he intends to unveil a new package of proposals, likely including tax cuts and targeted spending, to spark job growth.

Obama spoke in the Rose Garden after the August jobs report came out better than expected.

Administration officials say a big new stimulus bill like last year’s $814 billion measure is not in the offing — nervous lawmakers looking to November’s balloting would not be expected to approve an expensive new measure. But Obama said he’d be proposing a new set of ideas next week. He’s likely to detail them during a speech on the economy Wednesday in Cleveland, midway through an economy-focused week capped by a rare White House news conference.

Obama’s package could include a number of provisions that have languished in Congress for much of the year, including infrastructure bonds for municipalities and extensions for a series of tax breaks for businesses and individuals that expired at the end of 2009. Democratic leaders are considering making one of the tax breaks permanent, for businesses that invest in research and development.

They are also considering extending a law passed in March that exempts companies that hire unemployed workers from paying Social Security taxes on those workers through December. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., has proposed extending the exemption an additional six months.

Obama is continuing to prod the Senate to pass a bill that calls for about $12 billion in tax breaks for small businesses and a $30 billion fund to help unfreeze small business lending. Republicans have likened the bill to the unpopular bailout of the financial industry. And the president wants to make permanent the portion of George W. Bush’s tax cuts affecting the middle class.

The House has already passed many of the provisions, but they have stalled in the Senate because Republicans and Democrats could not agree on how to pay for them.

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