Unemployment Rate Pegged at 8.9 Percent

The unemployment numbers come from a survey of households. And a survey of businesses provides the number of jobs created or lost each month. Tom Nardone is Assistant Commissioner for Current Employment Analysis at the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"The major trends that we're seeing in terms of where the growth has been is that we've had increases in manufacturing, health care is continuing to increase, professional and business services — which is a rather diverse category, includes a lot of different industries — that's been increasing."  

Retailers, however, trimmed jobs. State and local government have eliminated 30,000 jobs, as they wrestle with state budget shortfalls. The 8.9 percent unemployment rate doesn't count those who are discouraged or are involuntary part-time workers.

"If you factor in folks who have stopped looking for work, as well as those who are working part-time when they'd prefer full-time work, that's down to 15.9 percent." 

Republican Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas says we need to consistently add 250,000 new jobs a month to make significant inroads into unemployment. The Bureau doesn't enter into politics — it just provides raw data.  But the data shows that the economy added 192,000 jobs last month, bolstering hopes that employers are shifting into a more aggressive hiring mode.

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