Friday, May 6, 2011

US jobless rate hits eight-month high

Source: Press TV

The US jobless rate has hit its highest level in eight months, causing a surge in the number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits in the country.

The US Labor Department reported on Friday that the unemployment rate rose to nine percent in April from 8.8 percent in March, The New York Times reported.

The monthly report noted that about 13.7 million Americans were out of work in April, among them 5.8 million people who have been jobless for six months or longer.

In March, the number of people who were unemployed was 13.5 million, with 6.1 million of them considered the long-term unemployed.

The number also marks the lowest labor participation rate in a quarter-century.

The average workweek was 34.3 hours in April, similar to the figure in March. Average hourly earnings rose by 3 cents to USD 22.95 in comparison with USD 22.92 in March.

This is while the outlook for the near-term job growth still remains gloomy.

According to Gad Levanon, associate director of macroeconomic research at the Conference Board, the US unemployment is likely to remain above eight percent through 2012.

Economists believe that the housing downturn, high prices of oil and commodities, austerity measures and limited consumer spending will prevent US gross domestic product growth from getting more robust.

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