Friday, June 3, 2011

US unemployment rate hits 9.1%

Protesters gather outside US Senator Charles Schumer's office to demand more jobs, April 1, 2011

Source: Press TV

The US unemployment rate surged to 9.1 percent in May, government figures show, as the stock index futures slumped to its lowest level.

According to the Labor Department, the US economy generated merely 54,000 nonfarm jobs in May, only one quarter of the previous month, Reuters reported on Friday.

This is the highest unemployment rate in the US since September last year.

Private sector jobs rose 83,000, the lowest amount since June.

According to a poll conducted by Reuters, economists expected payrolls to rise 150,000 and private hiring to increase 175,000 in May.

The slowdown in job creation has raised fears about the depth and duration of a recession that started early in the year.

Economists attribute the jobless rate to energy prices and the effects of Japan's earthquake on the global economy.

Earlier on Friday, the House of Representatives voted to cut Department of Homeland Security (DHS) budget for 2012 as hopes for an economic recovery in the US remain low.

The Conference Board, a US-based nonprofit business research association, recently reported that the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits rose by 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 424,000, which is above the 375,000 level consistent with sustainable job growth.

Figures released last week also showed a weaker than expected US economic recovery.

Additionally, the US is already struggling with a weak housing market, with house prices now fallen to their 2002 level.

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