Entries in Unemployment Rate (43)


Treasury Secretary: ‘We Can’t Tell Yet’ If Growth Has Stalled

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Sunday he believed the economy is “gradually getting stronger,” but said “we can’t tell yet” whether growth has stalled as it has in previous spring months during the Obama administration.

“We can’t tell yet,” Geithner said on ABC's This Week when asked if the same pattern from previous years was repeating, with strong growth in early months of the year, followed by a slow-down, as has happened the last two years.

“But if you look back at what happened in 2010 and 2011, you’re right that you saw some early strength in the beginning of the year,” Geithner said.  “But then what happened was, the crisis in Europe in 2010 and 2011 and then the crisis in Japan and then the oil shock caused growth to slow.  And then in ’11, it was made worse by the -- by all the political drama around the debt limit, which was very damaging to confidence.”

Geithner said the economy is still showing signs of improvement, despite the March jobs report showing just 120,000 new jobs created -- far below predictions, and lower than the 200,000 plus jobs created in the last three months.

“If you look at the evidence, the economy is getting stronger,” Geithner said, citing higher profits, increased productivity and growing private investment.  “We have a ways to go still, a lot of challenges still ahead.  But the broad indicators are pretty encouraging.  They show an economy still growing.”

“We’d like it to be stronger and we’ve got a lot of work to do,” he added.  “But it’s getting better.”

Geithner acknowledged that not all Americans have felt that improvement, with a new ABC News/Washington Post poll last week showing that 76 percent of Americans still believe the country is in a recession.

“Well, it’s obviously still a very tough economy out there,” he said.  “And I think it’s not surprising, given the scale of the damage the crisis caused and how much damage you still see out there.”

Geithner said the continuing unemployment problem has limited individual income growth, but he said he does believe the unemployment rate will be lower on Election Day than it is today.

“If the economy keeps growing at a moderate pace, then, yes, the economy -- more people will be back to work and you should see a gradual reduction in the unemployment rate,” he said.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


March Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.2% as 120,000 Jobs Added

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. employers added 120,000 jobs to their payrolls in March, falling short of expectations, the Labor Department reported on Friday.  Economists had predicted the economy would add over 200,000 positions last month.

Excluding government layoffs and hiring, 121,000 workers were added.

In a positive sign for the jobs market, the unemployment rate fell one tenth of a percent in March to 8.2 percent.  That dip exceeded economists' expectations, who said the figure would remain at 8.3 percent where it had been for several months.

Investors will have to wait until Monday to see how the news fares in the stock markets.  Trading is closed on Friday in observation of Good Friday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Unemployment Rate Drops in Swing States

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- If unemployment rates are the most important factor in 2012 politics, then President Obama got some good news Tuesday. Unemployment rates dropped in 45 states and rose in New York in the last year, according to new preliminary data released Tuesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. BLS compared preliminary state-specific rates calculated for January 2012 to finalized rates from January 2011.

The latest nonfarm, seasonally adjusted national unemployment rate is 8.3 percent for February, unchanged from January, BLS announced on Friday.

Some of the biggest improvements came in beleaguered swing states expected to weigh heavily in the 2012 presidential race–states where higher-than-average jobless rates could threaten Obama’s reelection prospects.

Ohio, which clenched Obama’s victory on Election Night in 2008, saw its rate drop 1.3 percent, from 9 percent to 7.7 percent. In Colorado, which Obama won by 9 percentage points in 2008, the unemployment rate fell 1 percent, from 8.8 percent to 7.8 percent.

Michigan suffered one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates at 10.9 percent in January 2011, but that number has since dropped 1.9 percent to 9 percent, BLS reported. Obama carried Michigan by 16 percentage points in 2008, but should Mitt Romney win the GOP nomination, his home state could become competitive in a bad economic climate.

Florida’s rate dropped 1.3 percent, from the same 10.9 percent in January 2011 to 9.3 percent in January 2012. With 27 Electoral College votes, the Sunshine State will be important for Obama in the fall. “We can’t just have a Florida strategy, but Florida’s the easiest way to 270 electoral votes,” Obama for America Campaign Manager Jim Messina said in laying out the president’s various paths to victory in a December YouTube presentation, insinuating that a win in Florida could make up for losses in a handful of swing states.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Ben Bernanke Not Encouraged by Better Unemployment Report

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday that interest rates would be kept at historically low levels until 2014 despite an encouraging report from the Labor Department about the unemployment rate dipping to 8.3 percent.

In fact, Bernanke downplayed what most economists believe is good news by saying that the unemployment situation, "understates the weakness of the labor market in some broad sense." It's not known if grim predictions about the economy from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office -- which projected anemic economic growth and put the "real" unemployment rate at 10 percent -- factored into Bernanke's decision.

Last week, Bernanke said that the Fed would keep the rates banks use to loan money to one another at or close to 0 percent for the next three years to help stimulate the economic recovery, which he maintains is only growing moderately.

During Tuesday's two-hour hearing, Bernanke, who was appointed during the second Bush administration, told the panel, "We see growth at something close to potential which, under normal circumstances, would mean that we’re creating enough jobs to employ new entrants to the labor force but not making sharp improvements on the unemployment rate."

Meanwhile, Bernanke reiterated his recommendation to Congress that it concern itself more seriously with trimming budget deficits.

The fed chief warned, "To achieve economic and financial stability, U.S. fiscal policy must be placed on a sustainable path that ensures that debt relative to national income is at least stable or, preferably, declining over time."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Jobs Report Skepticism: As Good As It Gets?

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- January’s jobs report released Friday morning showed that unemployment fell to 8.3 percent as employers added 243,000 jobs, but there are concerns the numbers may be as good as it gets. There is still a long way to go before the country’s labor situation returns to pre-2008 levels.

The unemployment rate had its fifth straight monthly decline but long-term unemployment, those jobless for 27 weeks or more, is stuck.  That figure was mostly unchanged at 5.5 million and accounted for 42.9 percent of the unemployed.

The economy must add about 200,000 to 250,000 jobs every month to get the unemployment rate down below 8 percent.

Peter Morici, professor at University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business and former chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission, said unemployment is not likely to fall much further and could rise again.

The adult labor force participation rate remained steady at 63.7 percent, indicating the unemployment rate decreased because new jobs were added. In January, working-age adults not participating in the labor force–those neither employed nor looking for work–increased by 88,000.

Morici said many adults have quit looking for work altogether so the unemployment rate should be higher.

There is additional skepticism about the nation’s jobs data. Two different surveys used by the Labor Department to collect data raise questions about how many jobs were really added in January, the Wall Street Journal reported. Also, every January, the Labor Department re-adjusts its data to account for population changes.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


December Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.5% as 200K Jobs Added

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- American employers added 200,000 jobs to their payrolls in December, exceeding economists' expectations and bringing down the unemployment rate by one tenth of a percent, the Labor Department reported Friday morning.

The unemployment rate now stands at 8.5 percent.

Economists had expected a gain of about 150,000 jobs last month, but with a slightly higher unemployment rate due to job cutbacks in the government sector and more people are re-entering the work force.

Factoring out the government sector, the latest monthly jobs report shows private employers added 212,000 jobs in December. Time will tell how many of those new jobs were temporary seasonal hires for the holidays, however.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama on Jobs: We Have a Lot More Work to Do

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Barack Obama cheered a surprising uptick in December jobs, while warning employees at the country’s new consumer watchdog agency, “there are a lot of people that are still hurting out there.”

The Labor Department said Friday the U.S. economy added 200,000 new jobs last month, a number that exceeded some analyst expectations. The new jobs pushed the unemployment rate to 8.5 percent, the lowest in nearly three years.

The newest numbers don't reflect those who have given up looking for work, or differentiate full time workers from temporary hires traditionally employed only for the holiday season.

“We’re starting to rebound,” Obama said. “We’re moving in the right direction. We have made real progress. Now is not the time to stop it.”

Republicans on Capitol Hill also welcomed the positive news, but said there are still not enough jobs being created to drive down unemployment.

“It’s good news that more Americans found work last month despite a sluggish economy, but both parties must come together and do more to address the ongoing uncertainty that small businesses face,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement.

Obama called on Congress to extend a Social Security payroll tax through 2012, saying, “We have a responsibility to make sure the economy that we’re rebuilding is one where middle class families feel like they can get ahead again.”

Speaking at the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Obama made no mention of the controversy surrounding his appointment of the agency’s director, Richard Cordray.

On Wednesday, the president infuriated Republicans by using a recess appointment to name the former Ohio attorney general to the post. Senate Republicans called the move an unconstitutional power grab.

Opponents to Cordray's appointment took issue not with his skills, but the fact that the CFPB he'll be running will allow him to wield massive power, unlimited by any kind of congressional checks and balances. Obama ignored those concerns, and went ahead with the recess appointment anyway -- despite the fact that Congress isn't is recess; it's techically being held open by a so-called pro-forma session, which in the past has effectively blocked presidents from circumventing congressional approval of appointees. In spite of this, Obama appointed Cordray anyway.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Unemployment Rate Falls to 8.6%; 120,000 New Jobs Added

Tim Boyle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Employers increased their payrolls by 120,000 in November, bringing the national unemployment rate to 8.6 percent from the previous month’s rate of 9.0 percent.

The unemployment rate is now the lowest it has been since March 2009 -- however, the sharp drop in the unemployment rate could likely be attributed to thousands of job-seekers giving up on looking for jobs until the first of the year.

Earlier this week, the claims for unemployment actually rose, inching back up over the 400,000 mark.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


80,000 Jobs Added in October; Unemployment Rate Dips to 9%

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- American employers added 80,000 jobs to their payrolls in October, meeting economists' expectations of some 85,000 new jobs for the month, according the latest monthly jobs report released by the Labor Department on Friday.

Factoring out the government sector, the report shows private employers added 104,000 jobs last month, which falls slightly short of the 111,000 new private sector jobs economists were expecting.

Significant upward revisions made for the previous months shows the country's added more than 1.2 million jobs in the past year, but still has a net jobs deficit of around 6.5 million from when the recession began.

Meanwhile, the nation’s unemployment rate -- the result of a separate but simultaneously released survey of American households -- dipped to 9 percent in October, marking the first time since July it's budged from 9.1 percent.  The drop is a statistically insignificant, but one that might well give Americans some hope that the job market is taking a turn for the better.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


103,000 New Jobs Added in September; Unemployment Still Stuck at 9.1%

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- After falling flat the month before, the number of jobs added in the U.S. rose in September, sending U.S. stock futures up ahead of Friday's opening bell.

The Department of Labor reported Friday that 103,000 jobs were added last month, better than the approximately 60,000 most economists had expected.  That's up from August, when the department originally reported zero jobs were added to employers' payrolls -- a first since 1945.  The number has since been revised to 57,000.

Still, the latest figure wasn't enough to change the unemployment rate, which has been holding steady at 9.1 percent for the past three months.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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