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Unemployment figures dash hopes for growth in US economy

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-01-08

Disappointing figures released by the US Labour Department on Friday show the US economy lost 85,000 jobs in December while the unemployment rate held at 10.0 percent.

AFP - The US economy lost 85,000 jobs in December while the unemployment rate held at 10.0 percent, the government said Friday in a report dashing hopes of a turnaround in the ailing labor market.
  
The Labor Department report on nonfarm payrolls was a disappointment to those hoping for growth in jobs, which is critical to recovery from recession.
  
The figure was far worse than the consensus expectation for no change in overall employment levels, and came amid a wide array of predictions ranging from steep losses to modest gains.
  
But in revising data for prior months, the report showed a net gain of 4,000 jobs in November instead of a loss of 11,000 previously reported.
  
The agency also revised its October estimate to show a loss of 111,000 jobs in October instead of 127,000.
  
In December, the goods-producing sector shed 81,000 jobs including 27,000 in manufacturing and 53,000 in construction.
  
The services sector lost a modest 4,000 jobs, with a loss of 10,000 in retail offset by gains in education, health care and professional services.
  
Government sector employment fell by 21,000 in the month.
  
Average hours worked, sometimes seen as a proxy for economic activity, was unchanged in December. Average hourly earnings meanwhile rose 0.2 percent.
  
The civilian labor force fell by 661,000 in the month, suggesting that more people are stopping their search for employment.
  
"The unchanged unemployment rate of 10 percent understates labor market slack, since labor force participation fell sharply," said Sophia Koropeckyj at Moody's Economy.com.
  
"Accordingly, the broader measure (of unemployment) increased to 17.3 percent," she said.
  
 

Date created : 2010-01-08

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