AFL-CIO: U.S. Jobless Rate Shocking: 15.7 Million Workers Unemployed

By Tula Connell, Nov 6, 2009

Reposted from the AFL-CIO Blog

Stunningly bad news on the nation’s jobless rate today: Unemployment worsened in October to 10.2 percent, a huge jump from 9.8 percent in September. That’s 15.7 million jobless workers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Worse, the unemployment and underemployment rate is a shocking 17.5 percent-more than 27 million American workers without full-time jobs.

Today’s numbers show that the overall jobs situation isn’t improving any time soon, according to Economic Policy Institute Director Larry Mishel, who predicts that one-third of the U.S. workforce will be unemployed or underemployed in 2010.

In short, the nation needs jobs.

Economist Julianne Malveaux puts the case succinctly:

“Absent public job creation, it is likely that the economy will not fully recover. Help certainly isn’t coming from Wall Street or Big Business.

“Now that they have pocketed their bailout cash, Wall Streeters are impervious to the nation’s ongoing jobs disaster. In fact, an annual report by Johnson Associates on financial industry payouts projected they will be up 40 percent from 2008, when they plunged in the midst of the financial crisis.

“In 2008, Wall Street handed out nearly $20 billion in cash awards and billions more in stock and other incentives to employees based in New York.

“Wall Street is celebrating a ‘recovery’ based on a 3.5 percent increase in the gross domestic product (GDP) in the third quarter of this year. But America’s workers know there can be no recovery unless everyone who wants to work can find a good job.”

This alarming jobs report “should be a wake-up call to sleepy politicians,” says AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka:

“Every day, it becomes more urgent that the federal government step up to the plate with bold actions to boost job creation. Such action should include urgently needed fiscal relief to state and local governments, community jobs programs, additional investments in infrastructure and green jobs and credit relief to small and medium-sized businesses. Failing to act puts us at very real risk of a lost generation – of hard-working Americans who can’t put food on the table and bright young people who never realize their potential.

“The nation needs to act fast to stop the hemorrhage of jobs and the economic crisis among working families.”


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