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U.S. Unemployment Rate Jumps to 9.5% -- a 26-Year High

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The U.S. unemployment rate increased to 9.5percent in June, a 26-year high, and up slightly from 9.4 percent in May. Some 467,000 jobs were lost in June, according to data released today by the Department of Labor.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 433,000 over the month to 4.4 million. That is an increase of more than 100,000 over the job loss in May.

This is the 18th straight month of job loss, with 6.5 million jobs gone since the start of the recession in December 2007.

There are now 14.7 million jobless U.S. workers, a number that doesn’t reflect the severity of the problem. When the underemployed and those who want jobs but have given up looking are counted, the broader U.S. unemployment rate stands at 16.8 percentmore than 25 million people who need jobs or full-time work but cannot find it.

The recession has wiped out the entire growth in jobs over the past nine yearsthe economy currently has fewer jobs than it had in May 2000, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). The workforce, however, has grown by 12.5 million workers since then.

Says EPI economist Heidi Shierholz:

This is the only recession since the Great Depression to wipe out all jobs growth from the previous business cycle, a devastating benchmark for the workers of this country and a testament to both the enormity of the current crisis and to the extreme weakness of jobs growth from 2000-2007.


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