US Unemployment Stays at 9.7%: 14.9 Million Americans Out of Work
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released February's unemployment figures on Friday indicating no change from last month's 9.7 % unemployment rate.
According to the BLS, there were 14.9 million unemployed workers in February, 6.1 million of which are long-term unemployed (unemployed 27 weeks or more).
A full 2.5 million unemployed workers were not counted in February's survey because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. As of February, 4 in 10 unemployed workers have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more.
Also, 64,000 construction workers, 18,000 information services workers, and 9,000 food and beverage workers lost their jobs in February.
Jobs Added by Industry Sector
Those losses were offset by the addition of 48,000 private temporary workers and 15,000 temporary government workers for Census 2010. Part time workers increased from 8.3 million in January to 8.8 million in February.
The unemployment rate for all industries and worker classes with the exception of government, financial services, education and health, and the self-employed is in the 10 % or above range.
The unemployment rate for government workers is 4 %, education and health services 5.6 %, and financial services 7.5 %. The highest unemployment rate remains in the construction industry at 27.1 %.
Unemployment Rate Even Higher than Recorded?
Peter Morici, business professor at the University of Maryland, saw little cause for encouragement in the jobs report. He estimates that the unemployment rate was closer to 16.8 %, if you include people too discouraged to continue looking for jobs and those who are working part-time because they can't find full-time employment.
Eight months into the much-touted recovery, the economy should be adding jobs, not losing jobs at a slower pace," he said. "No study of economic history could yield a conclusion other than that the U.S. economy walks along the precipice of a double-dip recession."
He said the economy is suffering from a fundamental lack of demand which is preventing businesses from even considering expanding operations and hiring new staff. That is because U.S. consumers overspent during the boom years and are now too weighed down by debts and job fears to keep up their profligate spending habits.
No customers, no capital, no jobs," he said.