July 2009


  A year earlier, the number of unemployed persons was 8.9
million, and the jobless rate was 5.8 percent. [BLS]



African American




Asian**                                     8.3%
Persons with a disability**


Men 20 years and over


Women 20 years and over


Teen-agers (16-19 years)


Black teens


Officially unemployed

14.5 million


Working part-time because can’t find a full-time job:  8.8 million
People who want jobs but are not looking so are not counted in official statistics (of which about 2.3 million** searched for work during the prior 12 months and were available for work during the reference week.)  6.0 million

Total: 29.3 million (18.3% of the labor force)

Source: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf

**Not seasonally adjusted.
*See Uncommon Sense #4 for an explanation of the unemployment measures.

In addition, millions more were working full-time, year-round, yet earned
less than the official poverty level for a family of four. In 2007, the latest 
year available, that number was 17.6 million, 16.2 percent of full-time workers (estimated from Current Population Survey, Bur. of the  Census, 2008).

In June, 2009, the latest month available, the number of job openings was only 2.6 million, according to the BLS, Job Openings and Labor Turnover Estimates, August 12, 2009.+ Thus there are more than 11 job-wanters for each available job. [Numbers are not comparable with previous months as methods have been revised.]

Mass layoffs: “Employers initiated 2,994 mass layoff events in the second quarter of 2009 that resulted in the separation of 534,881 workers from their jobs for at least 31 days, according to preliminary figures released by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Both the numbers of extended mass layoff events and associated separations were record highs for a second quarter (with data available
back to 1995).

Second quarter program highs in the number of separations were recorded in 7 of 18 major industry sectors, all four geographic regions, and fourteen states. Separations due to business demand reasons (especially slack work/insufficient demand) set a second quarter program high, while separations for financial reasons reached its highest second quarter level since 2001. Thirty-eight percent of employers reporting an extended layoff in the second quarter of 2009 indicated they anticipated some type of recall, this was down from 51 percent a year earlier, and was the lowest proportion of anticipated recalls for a second quarter in program history (with data available back to 1995). Second quarter 2009 layoff data are preliminary and are subject to revision. ….

Manufacturing firms reported 932 extended mass layoff events involving 166,240 separations in the second quarter of 2009. The number of events in manufacturing reached a second quarter program high, while associated worker separations for this industry sector were at its highest second quarter level since 1998 (with data available back to 1995). ….In the second quarter of 2009, seven major industry sectors reported second quarter program highs in terms of the number of worker separations—mining; construction; wholesale trade; transportation and warehousing; real estate and rental and leasing; health care and social assistance; and accommodation and food services.” (BLS, August 12, 2009)

Source: http://www.epi.org/publication/snapshot_20090701/

+”The job openings rate was unchanged in June; the rate has held at 1.9 percent since March 2009. The number of job openings varied little over the last four months, after falling by 2.2 million, or 45 percent, from June 2007 to March 2009. The job openings rate was little changed in June in every industry and region.

Source: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/economy/news/2009/04/03/5945/no-good-news-for-workers/

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