Make us your home page
Instagram

Jobless rate hits 10.2%, likely to get worse

Job seekers hand in resumes while trying to get information at a job fair in Livonia, Mich. The national unemployment rate is at a 26-year high, and 16 million people are now out of work. Michigan’s 15.3 percent jobless rate is the worst in the U.S.

Associated Press

Job seekers hand in resumes while trying to get information at a job fair in Livonia, Mich. The national unemployment rate is at a 26-year high, and 16 million people are now out of work. Michigan’s 15.3 percent jobless rate is the worst in the U.S.

WASHINGTON — The unemployment rate has hit double digits for the first time since 1983 — and is likely to go higher.

The 10.2 percent jobless rate for October shows how weak the economy remains, even though it is growing. The rising jobless rate could threaten the recovery if it saps consumers' confidence and makes them more cautious about spending as the holiday season approaches.

The October unemployment rate — reflecting nearly 16 million jobless people — jumped from 9.8 percent in September, the Labor Department said Friday. Economists say the unemployment rate could surpass 10.5 percent next year because employers are reluctant to hire.

President Barack Obama called the new jobs report another illustration of why much more work is needed to spur business creation and consumer spending. Noting legislation he's signing to provide additional unemployment benefits for laid-off workers, Obama said, "I will not rest until all Americans who want work can find work."

Troubles for small businesses could have a disproportionate effect on the economy, because they account for about 60 percent of the nation's jobs. They tend to rely on credit cards and home equity lines to maintain their cash flow. Banks have tightened credit in many of these areas.

The 10.2 percent unemployment rate does not include people without jobs who have stopped looking for work or those who have settled for part-time jobs. If you counted those people, the unemployment rate would be 17.5 percent, the highest on records dating from 1994.

"It's not a good report," said Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist for New York investment firm Miller Tabak & Co. "What we're seeing is a validation of the idea that a jobless recovery is perfectly on track."

Last week, the government said the economy grew at a 3.5 percent annual rate in the July-September quarter, the strongest signal yet that the worst recession since the Great Depression is over. But that growth isn't fast enough to turn the job market around.

"You need explosive growth to take the unemployment rate down," Greenhaus said Thursday.

The economy soared by nearly 8 percent in 1983 after a steep recession, lowering the jobless rate by 2.5 percentage points that year. But the economy is unlikely to improve that fast this time, as consumers remain cautious and tight credit hinders businesses. In fact, many analysts expect economic growth to moderate early next year, as the impact of government stimulus programs to boost home and car buying fades.

Fast facts

Florida numbers due Nov. 20

• The Agency for Workforce Innovation announces state and local jobless rates for October on Nov. 20. Florida's unemployment rate jumped to 11 percent in September, when bay area joblessness reached 11.7 percent.

Jobless rate hits 10.2%, likely to get worse 11/06/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 6, 2009 8:59pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Associated Press.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida's unemployment hits 3.8 percent, lowest since April 2007

    Economic Development

    Florida's unemployment rate continued its downward tear in September to hit 3.8 percent — the lowest since April 2007 — as the state lost 127,400 jobs over the month.

    Florida's unemployment rate dropped from 4 percent in August to 3.8 percent in September. Pictured is 
Shantia Blackmon (left),from St. Petersburg, talking with Jocelyn Kelley from North Carolina at a Pinellas Schools County Job Fair in June. | [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  2. Hooper: Jean Chatzky chats about the intersection of wealth, health

    Personal Finance

    Public safety officials can readily identify a city's most dangerous intersections.

    Personal finance adviser Jean Chatzky is one of several high profile speakers on the slate for the Women's Conference of Florida in Tampa next week. [Handout photo]
  3. Trigaux: Amid wealth inequality, is middle class losing habit of giving to charities?

    Business

    In the slow economic recovery since the nasty recession a decade ago, researchers are wondering if the hard times back then broke middle class America's habit of charitable giving.

    Dr. Kiran Patel and his wife and fellow doctor Pallavi Patel rank among the most generous philanthropists in the Tampa Bay area in recent decades. Their most recent giving: a $200 million pledge, consisting of a $50 million gift to Nova Southeastern University, plus $150 million to buy and build a Nova-affiliated medical education complex in Clearwater. The Patels also have given considerable sums to the University of South Florida and area hospitals. In this 2014 photo, the couple pose for pictures on the green carpet prior to a 15th International Indian Film Academy Awards event in Tampa. [Times file photo]
  4. Tampa Bay's Top 100 Workplaces deadline extended to Nov. 17

    Business

    Think you work at one of the best places in Tampa Bay? You've got a little more time to make a pitch.

    Penny Hoarder and Gregory, Sharer & Stuart were among those at an event in Tampa last May honoring winners of the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces awards. Nominations are now open for this year.  
[OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times]
  5. Tampa-based Checkers testing delivery, aims for record expansion

    Retail

    TAMPA — Tampa-based Checkers Drive-In Restaurants continues to fly under the radar compared to dominant burger chains like McDonald's and Burger King.

    Checkers Franchisee Shaji Joseph, of Tampa, hoses down the front walkway of his store at 6401 Park Boulevard, Pinellas Park. The business has a new look including signage and exterior tile. One drive through has been eliminated for an outdoor dining area, right. Joseph owns nine Checkers and is planning to open his tenth in Tampa.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times ]