April 04, 2009
Unemployment Rate Rose to 8.5 Percent in March
Filed under: Knowledge Base
Vision Payroll

Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline sharply in March (-663,000), and the unemployment rate rose from 8.1% to 8.5%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor reported recently. Since the recession began in December 2007, 5.1 million jobs have been lost, with almost two-thirds (3.3 million) of the decrease occurring in the last 5 months. In March, job losses were large and widespread across the major industry sectors.

In March, the number of unemployed persons increased by 694,000 to 13.2 million, and the unemployment rate rose to 8.5%. Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has grown by about 5.3 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 3.4 percentage points. Half of the increase in both the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate occurred in the last 4 months.

The unemployment rates continued to trend upward in March for adult men (8.8%), adult women (7.0%), whites (7.9%), and Hispanics (11.4%). The jobless rates for blacks (13.3%) and teenagers (21.7%) were little changed over the month. The unemployment rate for Asians was 6.4% percent in March, not seasonally adjusted, up from 3.6% a year earlier.

Among the unemployed, the number of job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs increased by 547,000 to 8.2 million in March. This group has nearly doubled in size over the past 12 months.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) rose to 3.2 million over the month and has increased by about 1.9 million since the start of the recession in December 2007.


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