The unemployment rate dipped one-tenth of a percentage point to 9.0 percent as employers added 80,000 jobs in October, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.
Most of the job gains came in the private sector, with modest job growth continuing in professional and businesses services, leisure and hospitality, health care and mining. Government employment, however, continued to trend down.
Both the number of unemployed persons (13.9 million) and the unemployment rate (9.0 percent) changed little over the month, the Labor Department reported. The unemployment rate has remained in a narrow range from 9.0 to 9.2 percent since April.
In October, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) declined by 366,000 to 5.9 million, or 42.4 percent of total unemployment.
Employment in professional and business services continued to trend up in October with an additional 32,000 jobs, and has grown by 562,000 over the past 12 months. Within the industry, there have been modest job gains in recent months in temporary help services and in management and technical consulting services.
With unemployment remaining stubbornly high, Democrats on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee introduced legislation Thursday to extend federal unemployment insurance through the end of 2012 and provide tax relief to states (see Congressional Democrats Intro Unemployment Extension Bill). To help drum up support for an unemployment extension, on Friday they launched a new Web site, eCall to Extend Unemployment Insurance, where Americans looking for work can share their stories and join the effort to extend federal unemployment insurance programs through 2012.
The Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Extended Benefits programs, which currently provide up to 73 weeks of additional unemployment insurance, are set to expire Dec. 31. Without renewal, more than 2 million Americans will be cut off from unemployment insurance by early February and 6 million will lose their unemployment benefits by the end of next year, they pointed out.
The eCall to Extend Unemployment Insurance provides the 14 million Americans looking for work with an online hub to share their stories and call for an extension of the federal programs. Congress has never allowed the federal programs to expire while the unemployment rate remains as high as it is today – at 9 percent.
“With nearly 7 million fewer jobs in the economy today than when the recession started in December 2007, unemployed workers are facing a job market where over four people are fighting for every job opening, and long-term unemployment is at a record high,” Ways and Means ranking member Sander Levin, D-Mich., wrote in an e-mail launching the eCall to Extend Unemployment Insurance. “Congress must act before the holidays so that unemployed workers and their families have the security that the rug is not about to be pulled out from under them and our economy has the confidence that workers will be supported while they look for jobs.”
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