BLS: National Unemployment Rate for September, 2009 at 9.8%

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s monthly report, in September, 2009 the national unemployment rate stood at 9.8%, an increase of a tenth of a percent from the month before:

Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline in September (-263,000), and the unemployment rate (9.8 percent) continued to trend up, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The largest job losses were in construction, manufacturing, retail trade, and government.

Household Survey Data

Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 7.6 million to 15.1 million, and the unemployment rate has doubled to 9.8 percent. (See table A-1.)

The job cuts in construction were the most serious:

In September, construction employment declined by 64,000. Monthly job losses averaged 66,000 from May through September, compared with an average of 117,000 per month from November to April. September job cuts were concentrated in the industry’s nonresidential components (-39,000) and in heavy
construction (-12,000). Since December 2007, employment in construction has fallen by 1.5 million.

In my view that’s strong evidence that the spending in the $787 billion stimulus package should have been concentrated more in 2009.

The only bright light in the employment picture is healthcare:

Employment in health care continued to increase in September (19,000), with
the largest gain occurring in ambulatory health care services (15,000). Health care has added 559,000 jobs since the beginning of the recession, although the average monthly job gain thus far in 2009 (22,000) is down from the average monthly gain during 2008 (30,000).

With such a high proportion of the healthcare sector being in the form of tax dollars in one form or another (at least 50%), one can only wonder if growth in this sector is sustainable.

We’re going to have to wait for the state-by-state breakdown.

Since this marks the end of the 3rd quarter, I’m sure there will be plenty of other economic news today and I’ll be reporting on it as time allows.


Dean Baker, quoted in the New York Times, expresses the same concern that I have about current economic conditions:

“People have been celebrating that we’re through the financial crisis, but the underlying issues are all still there,” said Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research. “We’ve lost trillions of dollars in housing wealth, and consumption’s going to be weak. It’s not the ’30s, but there’s really nothing to boost the economy.”

To boost the economy we’re going to need real private business growth and for real private business growth we’re going to need confidence in the financial system, confidence in the economy, and confidence that neither the Fed nor the Congress is about to pull the rug out from under us. I don’t see any of those things right now.

7 comments… add one
  • PD Shaw Link

    And today is the deadline for states to file their applications for proposed highspeed rail projects. I wonder how many years until that stimulas is actually spent?

  • Tom Link

    Obama and crew are have only spent around 50 billion of the 787 billion! Sounds like they will wait until right before the 2010 election to spend it! I hope everyone sends them packing!!

  • Sam Link

    “have only spent around 50 billion of the 787”

    No, they’ve only spent 50 billion of 307 billion – you can’t take the discretionary spending total and compare it to the size of the entire bill.

    185 billion of 787 billion goes out in 2009. 399 more will go out in 2010.

  • jdeldin Link

    Please for heaven’s sake – where are the jobs. Quit lying to us.
    Seriously, we need those jobs now.

  • Especially since the government and politicians can increase their power and prestige by doing exactly the opposite. When Washington and pols decide to deal with an issue it is always using “scary language”.

    War, crisis, disaster, etc. We have the war on drugs, the war on terror, we had the war on poverty, and then we have the financial crisis. Yes the latter is indeed a real crisis, but politicians don’t care they’ll use a real crisis just as they’ll gin one up (war on drugs). Scare the bajeebers out of people, pass laws, expand the power of government, and even when there is a legitimate crisis don’t relinquish all of the power that has been acquired. Rinse and repeat and you have creeping statism.

  • Though my husband is retired, he keeps in touch with those in his union — the UA — representing pipefitters, steamfitters, welders, and plumbers.

    Unlike other unions, the UA has an extensive training arm. One can join as an apprentice, working for relatively low wages while gaining on the job experience and taking advantage of classroom instruction.

    Any large construction job is going to need workers skilled in these trades. Locally (Shreveport LA), there has never been steady work for pipefitters and welders. But there has been – up until the last six months – a steady demand for plumbers.

    Now, there are 50+ plumbers out of work. That’s 50 more than last year.

    While I can understand animosity toward SEIU and now the UAW, it is awkward that they shenanigans of those two unions make it difficult for unions like the UA.

    I want to note that it is scary that plumbers are not able to find work and that it is not quite reasonable to lump all unions together as forces against capitalism.

    This is not to negate some of the very inappropriate confiscation of funds that certain UA officials engaged in. The UA is not immune to corruption, but it is not corruption on the scale of SEIU. Nor has the UA ever had sufficient control over any one industry to bring it to its knees as has the UAW.

    Some union operations are out-of-date, as what they were formed to combat has now been made into law in some way or another.

    One example of that are two local grocery stores. One is union, one is not. In the stores that are not union, new employees are generally hired above minimum wage and given benefits based on the number of hours worked.

    Yes, this allows part-time employees to be cheaper for the company, yet that company prefers full-time employees for stability. Part-time employees are there to take up the slack. Full-time employees enjoy similar benefits to union employees of the other company.

    Yet, the full-time union employees of the other company are paid minimum wage. Though more of them are full-time and thus eligible for benefits, they earn quite a bit less.

    Where is the ultimate benefit to the employee? While my 16 year old worked at the non-union store on weekends – when the full-time staff wanted off, she was happy with her compensation.

    Whereas, the full-time staff at the union store were required to cover the weekend shifts at their lower wages, but greater benefits.

    Which group of employees actually got the greater benefit?

    As a consumer, I found a greater variety of commodities and better, quicker, more friendly service at the non-union store for equal or less cost.

    When unions become drags on the industry they unionize, they are simply signing their own death certificates.

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