Sunday, September 5, 2010

U.S. jobless rate climbs slightly in August

WASHINGTON — The nation's jobless rate worsened slightly last month, edging up to 9.6 percent from 9.5 percent in July, the government said Friday in a report that had little for workers to cheer about this Labor Day weekend.
Overall, the American economy lost 54,000 net jobs in August as an additional 114,000 temporary census workers were dismissed from the federal government's payrolls. Aside from the staffing changes at the Census Bureau, which has been trimming jobs that were added earlier in the year for the census count, private-sector employers added a modest 67,000 jobs over the month.

Manufacturers, which had been growing all year and leading the weak jobs recovery, fell in August, cutting 27,000 jobs. Budget-strapped state governments shed 14,000 jobs.

The health-care sector added 28,000 jobs in August, and construction employment was up 19,000, although about half of that was because of the return of workers on strike in July. The temporary-help industry, considered a precursor to broader hiring, increased staffing by 17,000 last month.

The Labor Department revised up the private-sector hiring in June and July, saying businesses added 168,000 in those two months instead of 102,000 estimated earlier. Even so, by any measure, those numbers are small and not enough to begin to bring down the unemployment rate, which is expected to climb in the coming months.

Nearly 15 million workers were counted as jobless last month. Including people too discouraged to look for work and the nearly 9 million workers who have little choice but to work part time, the rate of the nation's unemployed and underemployed stood at 16.7 percent last month, up from 16.5 percent in July.

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