Jobless rate hits 9.4 percent, a 25-year high
A silver lining is the US economy shed fewer jobs in May than forecasters had predicted.
(Page 2 of 2)
The slowing of the job losses seems to be continuing. On Thursday, the US Department of Labor said first-time filers for unemployment benefits for the week ending May 30 fell to 621,000, 4,000 fewer claims than the previous week. At the same time, continuing claims, which have been rising for the past 20 weeks, fell 15,000 to 6.74 million.Skip to next paragraph
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
“Typically, what happens as recessions draw to a close is the claims peak on average about eight weeks before the end of the recession,” says Mr. Brusca. “Then, the total number receiving jobless benefits peaks later, followed by the insured rate of unemployment,” he says. “Then, eventually, once the recovery begins, they all come down together.”
On Wednesday, the payroll processing company ADP said its monthly survey found that private, nonfarm payrolls slipped by 532,000 jobs in May. However, that assessment turned out to be too pessimistic.
Also on Wednesday, the Chicago-based outplacement firm Challenger Gray and Christmas said announced layoffs in May dropped to 111,182, a decline of 16 percent from April. But layoffs were still 7.4 percent higher than May of last year.
Census Bureau adds jobs
Even while job losses continue, there was at least one major new hirer: the US Census Bureau. In April, it hired only 60,000 employees, estimated Barclays Capital Research in New York. Most of these temporary hires are verifying addresses. By next spring, it expects to hire 700,000 temporary workers for the 2010 census.
But the census hiring had no impact on the May jobs numbers, which showed government hiring falling by 7,000 jobs, says Mr. Brown. "I am speculating that they let some of those temporary hires go," he says. “The census hiring will have a bigger impact next spring,” he predicts.
Looking at jobs on a regional basis, IHS/Global Insight in Lexington, Mass., reported that most states will not regain their prerecession employment levels until 2011 or 2012. The first to recover, says the group, will be Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, and Alaska, all resource-rich states. The slowest to recover jobs will be the industrial states of Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana.