U.S. Unemployment Rate Still 9%

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. economy added 80,000 jobs in October, according to data released today by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The modest job growth was not enough to significantly affect the nation’s unemployment rate, which is still 9 percent.

Employment in the private sector rose, with modest job growth continuing in professional and businesses services, leisure and hospitality, health care, and mining. Government employment continued to trend down.

There are 13.9 million unemployed Americans; including 5.9 million who have been jobless for at least 27 weeks. Not counted towards the unemployment rate are 2.6 million discouraged workers who had sought employment sometime within the past year, but not within the four weeks preceding the survey. There are another 8.9 million involuntary part-time workers, who have had their hours cut or were unable to find a full-time job,

The unemployment rates for blacks (15.1 percent), teenagers (24.1 percent) and Hispanics (11.4 percent) remain worse than the overall national rate.

Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in October (+32,000) and has grown by 562,000 over the past 12 months. Within the industry, there have been modest job gains in recent months in temporary help services and in management and technical consulting services.

Employment in leisure and hospitality edged up over the month (+22,000). Since a recent low point in January 2010, the industry has added 344,000 jobs.

Health care employment continued to expand in October 2011 (+12,000), following a gain of 45,000 in September. Offices of physicians added 8,000 jobs in October. Over the past 12 months, health care has added 313,000 jobs.

In October, mining employment continued to increase (+6,000); oil and gas extraction accounted for half of the increase. Since a recent low point in October 2009, mining employment has risen by 152,000.

Manufacturing employment changed little in October 2011 (+5,000) and has remained flat for 3 months. In October, a job gain in transportation equipment (+10,000) was partly offset by small losses in other manufacturing industries.

Within retail trade, employment increased in general merchandise stores (+10,000) and in motor vehicle and parts dealers (+6,000) in October. Retail trade has added 156,000 jobs over the past 12 months.

Construction employment declined by 20,000 in October, largely offsetting an increase of 27,000 in September; both over-the-month changes largely occurred in nonresidential construction. Employment in both residential and nonresidential construction has shown little net change in 2011.

Employment in other major private-sector industries, including wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and financial activities, changed little in October.

Government employment continued to trend down over the month (-24,000), with most of the October decline in the non-educational component of state government. Employment in both state government and local government has been trending down since the second half of 2008.

Job growth figures for August were revised from +57,000 to +104,000, and the change for September was revised from +103,000 to +158,000.

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