Unemployment Hits 10.2%

By Justin Gardner | Related entries in Economy, Jobs, Money, unemployment

We’ve crossed the psychological barrier and this spells bad news for Dems unless they can turn it around in the next couple months. Because this is the highest rate since 1983 and you’ll be hearing that time and time again in the next month.

Here’s more about those numbers:

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (10.7 percent) and whites (9.5 percent) rose in October. The jobless rates for adult women (8.1 percent), teenagers (27.6 percent), blacks (15.7 percent), and Hispanics (13.1 percent) were little changed over the month. The unemployment rate for Asians was 7.5 percent, not seasonally adjusted.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was little changed over the month at 5.6 million. In October, 35.6 percent of unemployed persons were jobless for 27 weeks or more.

The civilian labor force participation rate was little changed over the month at 65.1 percent. The employment-population ratio continued to decline in October, falling to 58.5 percent.

Thankfully, only 190,000 non-farm jobs were lost last month. That’s lower than September’s 216,000 so the trend is in the right direction.

Also, some good news for those without work…jobless benefits are being extended:

After weeks of partisan debate, the Senate voted on Wednesday to lengthen unemployment benefits by up to 20 weeks and to extend the $8,000 homebuyer tax credit.

The closely watched legislation would extend jobless benefits in all states by 14 weeks. Those that live in states with unemployment greater than 8.5% would receive an additional six weeks. The proposal would be funded by extending a longstanding federal unemployment tax on employers through June 30, 2011.

The measure would apply to those whose benefits will run out by Dec. 31, which is nearly two million people, according to Senate estimates. Those whose checks have already stopped would be able to reapply for another round.

The vote was 98 to 0.

How’s that for bipartisan?

More as it develops…


This entry was posted on Friday, November 6th, 2009 and is filed under Economy, Jobs, Money, unemployment. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

25 Responses to “Unemployment Hits 10.2%”

  1. kranky kritter Says:

    Who in their right mind would oppose extending unemployment, a congresscritter with a career death wish? LOL

    The unemployment uptick sure isn’t good news. But within the context of the data of the last year or so, it’s not all that troubling, even if spinning opportunists will do their best to make it seem like the apocalypse.

    6 to 9 months ago, there was every reason to think unemployment would go to around 10%, or even as high as 11 or 12. So whether it craters at 9.8 or 10.2 or 10.6 or 11.1 is not something that concerns me too too much. [Although certainly I appreciate that the number is far more than a number...every tenth of a point equals thousands of dislocated Americans who find themselves scrabbling to make end meet. I should know, I'm one of them]

    The recent data of the past few months suggests there’s reason to hope that the economy is troughing and will rebound. Hopefully, that’s what we see, and not renewed decline after christmas.

  2. bondwooley Says:

    Since the government can’t solve the problem, it’s time the people start facing unemployment with their own ingenuity:

    http://bit.ly/ozqT6

    (satire)

  3. Gaucho Politico Says:

    This vote has been months in the making as it was obstructed by republicans. thousands of people lost benefits while the republicans obstructed. sure at the end of the day they voted for it but they forced this vote to occur much later than it needed to. its interesting how after all this debate dems were able to convince republicans that this was a good idea. its almost as if they were debating in bad faith…

  4. kranky kritter Says:

    its interesting how after all this debate dems were able to convince republicans that this was a good idea.

    And your evidence that democrats finally somehow managed to persuade the GOP is what exactly? Gaucho is right!

    I haven’t heard any republican say they didn’t support extending benefits. And I heard more than one say that it was important and needed to happen. And it passed unanimously. I’m comfortable assuming that any delay was related to firming up the details. That’s OK with me.

  5. PunditKix Says:

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    Thank you for submitting this cool story – Trackback from PunditKix…

  6. James Says:

    And yet things that they could be doing in Washington to actually help taxpayers are tabled. What happened to the bill to make unemployment benefits tax free? How about bringing back interest deductions on ALL loans Americans are paying to help ‘stimulate’ the economy? Used to be standard but some years ago it got whittled down to home loans only. Interest on auto loans, credit cards (interest going through the roof on many because they got slapped on the hand and have rules to live by come January!), and other secured loans could all be deductable come 2010 with a change in the tax code. Why not? Taxpayers need all the help they can get, especially since it was announced all that bail out money probably will never be repaid. When will Washington stop playing games and do tangible things to help us?

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  8. gerryf Says:

    What exactly, Kranky, did they need to “get right”?

    You know the GOP delayed this and you know it was all about politics, not principal. It was unanimous because they were FORCED to vote. That doesn’t mean they didn’t use every procedural trick in the book to delay the vote.

  9. kranky kritter Says:

    What happened to the bill to make unemployment benefits tax free?

    Making unemployment benefits tax free substantially increases the price tag of the extension. Since every penny amounts to additional deficit spending, it’s AT LEAST defensible not to make this change. I support extending the period of time for which folks are eligible for support. IMO that’s more important than increasing the amount. Besides, for MANY folks on unemployment, especially those with families, their income has been reduced to the point where they may not even owe taxes anyway. So this change would be less likely to help those genuinely struggling and more likely to help folks with somewhat higher incomes preserve their standard of living. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just a luxury under current circumstances.

    How about bringing back interest deductions on ALL loans Americans are paying to help ’stimulate’ the economy?

    I think this is a terrible idea. Easy credit and poor loan choices (by both lenders and borrowers) was the biggest part of the current crisis. I am opposed to encouraging people to add more debt. My version of restoring our economy is not to help people buy more crap they don’t really need.

    Plus, don’t forget that we are running a huge deficit. So if people can deduct interest payments from their taxes, how does the government make up that lost revenue to prevent the deficit from getting even bigger? By taking more money out of the pockets of people who lived within their means?

    I would much rather see the government ratchet down the interest rates that borrowers can charge. Not only would this help folks with big debt, it would also have a beneficial effect on lender behavior, because they’d have to try harder to limit lending to the creditworthy.

  10. kranky kritter Says:

    What exactly, Kranky, did they need to “get right”?

    I guess that would depend Gerry. Suppose the bill recently passed says no more than this:

    We the congress extend unemployment benefits by 20 weeks.

    If that’s all the bill says, then you are probably right. It was as straightforward as could be and any delay must have been noimore than obstruction.

    But if instead the bill was pages and pages and pages long, then this would suggest that there were PLENTY of details to work out. Why don’t you go investigate the length of the congressional paperwork for extending benefits, and get back to me, OK?

  11. kranky kritter Says:

    At James:

    What happened to the bill to make unemployment benefits tax free?

    Well. making unemployment benefits tax free substantially increases the price tag of the extension, right? So because every penny amounts to additional deficit spending, it’s AT LEAST defensible not to make this change.

    I support extending the period of time for which folks are eligible for support. IMO that’s way more important than increasing the amount. Besides, for MANY folks on unemployment, especially those with families, their income has been reduced to the point where they may not even owe taxes anyway. So this change would be less likely to help those genuinely struggling and more likely to help folks with somewhat higher incomes preserve their standard of living. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just a luxury under current circumstances.

    How about bringing back interest deductions on ALL loans Americans are paying to help ’stimulate’ the economy?

    I think this is a terrible idea. Easy credit and poor loan choices (by both lenders and borrowers) was the biggest part of the current crisis. I am opposed to encouraging people to add more debt. My version of restoring our economy is not to help people buy more crap they don’t really need.

    Plus, don’t forget that we are running a huge deficit. So if people can deduct interest payments from their taxes, how does the government make up that lost revenue to prevent the deficit from getting even bigger? By taking more money out of the pockets of people who lived within their means?

    I would much rather see the government ratchet down the interest rates that borrowers can charge. Not only would this help folks with big debt, it would also have a beneficial effect on lender behavior, because they’d have to try harder to limit lending to the creditworthy.

  12. mw Says:

    “it was obstructed by republicans… gaucho

    False. The Democrats have an 88 vote majority in the house, and 60-40 filibuster proof majority in the senate and own the white house. It is is mathematically impossible for the the Republicans to obstruct anything.

    I understand the knee jerk reaction for Democrats to blame everything on Republicans. After long years in the wilderness, it is ingrained in their psyche. But the simple fact is that every single thing that happens or does not happen in this government is 100% the responsibility of Democrats – good bad or indifferent.

  13. the Word Says:

    mw-
    While you have the math right, it is perhaps a bit more complicated than that. There are some nominal “Democrats” – e.g., Lieberman leaps to mind. That means you are willing to blame the democrats for 5-8 Blue Dogs and give the Republicans a pass for 100% obstruction, delay and partisanship. If they’d all (both parties) vote for what was best for the country rather than best for their party or politics, I don’t think the numbers would be the same.

  14. Simon Says:

    the Word Says:

    If they’d all (both parties) vote for what was best for the country rather than best for their party or politics, I don’t think the numbers would be the same.

    False dichotomy. They think their politics arewhat is best for the country, and the parties exist only as vehicles for those politics. I have no dobut that the Democrats are voting for what they think is best for the country. The fact that they’re horribly, dangerously wrong doesn’t impeach their good faith, although it may not bode well for their intelligence. You’re making a common but foolish mistake that usually manifests itself as the question “why do they not just fix the problems nistead of being ideological,” as if there is some way to separate one’s ideology from one’s perception of problems and solutions. Politics is political.

    doesn’t mean that they’re

  15. the Word Says:

    Simon-

    If Obama could cure Cancer with the stroke of a pen there would be Republicans against it. I have no doubt. I agree that both sides think they are right in general, but the 100% consistency in votes for Republicans leads me to believe we should send them all home, save on their budgets and let one guy cast a vote for all of them. When you have hearings and Republicans don’t even attend, they are acting like two year olds and unworthy of the office.

  16. mw Says:

    Word – you are only revealing your partisan blinders and child-like belief in “good”democrats and “evil” republicans. Perhaps this is why you refuse to acknowledge the simple, unarguable, unequivocal fact that only Democrats can pass this bill, only Democrats can defeat this bill, and only Democrats can obstruct this bill.

    Feel free to keep railing against Republicans though, as I know that is more entertaining for you. If you get tired of that you can start working on the Whigs and Mugwumps, who are equally relevant to the disposition of the Health Care bill.

  17. the Word Says:

    mw-

    And what I hear from the Right is “I Know you are but what am I” I stated two ACTUAL offenses to the decorum I’d like to see. Not even showing up to discuss the people’s business (Would that work with your boss if you didn’t like the agenda?) and Sensenbrenner turning off the lights and the microphones at a meeting when the Opposition party had their experts come to testify. I’d condemn that from either side and yet Republicans think they don’t have to even acknowledge that it isn’t the way to behave.

    We all deserve better.

    I’m more than willing to blame the Democrats for not getting this done, but to give the Republicans a blind and total pass is truly childish and simplistic.

  18. gerryf Says:

    Getting back to you Kranky (and MW while I am at it),

    You’re either not paying attention or really don’t understand how things work in congress. It is never as simple as someone proposing something and everyone voting.

    In the past 4 weeks senators from states with lower jobless rates demanded that all states exhaust all money before high unemployment states get more, tried to add homebuyer and business tax credits to the bill, tried to add at least two amendments aimed at ACORN, and at least two amendments concerning immigration (for example, attaching a bill extending the e-verify program) and then engaged in all kinds of procedural gimmicks just short of a fillibuster to slow the vote down.

    It is not as simple as “the Dems have the majority” and the GOP is just dotting the Is on paperwork.

    They stalled until the last minute because they are perfectly aware that the party in power is going to get the blame. They are eating up time to prevent Democrat initiatives from getting passed.

    You are either horribly misinformed or intentionally simplifying the process to encourage that kind of uninformed opinion.

  19. Simon Says:

    the Word Says:

    If Obama could cure Cancer with the stroke of a pen there would be Republicans against it.

    That kind of simplistic, shallow analysis reveals your problem. You look only at the benefit without any kind of reference to the cost. I would not be surprised if there was opposition (for one or both parties) to a bill that purported to cure cancer: some would doubt that the bill would actually have its intended effect, others would feel that the cost (not necessarily just in financial terms) was too high, and so on. Legislating isn’t a popularity contest for the general goals of the bill in vacuo.

  20. the Word Says:

    More likely the opposition would be that it cured it for illegal aliens or stopped it from killing women who had had abortions or something nutty. And your problem Simon, is that you fail to see the cost to humanity in any of your decisions. I could see us still having slavery in your world without your seeing anything wrong with that. You’d rather respect the process than the people.

    Legislating should be about doing the work of the people.

  21. Simon Says:

    Again, The Word, you remain blisfully ignorant of how things work in the real world. The “work of the people” is not done–the people do not benefit–by blithely ignoring the costs and hyperfocussing on rosy assumptions about the benefits.

    And I will not be lectured by you, who supports the ongoing holocaust of abortion to your last breath, about the “cost to humanity” of any policy preference. You have no moral standing to level such charges.

  22. the Word Says:

    Simon –
    I don’t believe I have ever stated my views on abortion. Thinking yourself to be more moral than anyone else is perhaps wishful thinking on your part.

    I do now realize how someone such as yourself could be fractally confused on an empty skirt like Palin and your man crush Scalia. Scalia’s recent comment on the Cross representing everyone was as stupid and offensive as anything that has come out of Palin’s mouth. But as long as they stay against abortion, you can keep your eyes and ears shut.

    Conservatives seem to pick a position based on holding back rights whatever the cost and I don’t. I have no issue looking at the costs but feel that the world shouldn’t just be a rosy place just because you are wealthy, male, straight, white and Christian.

  23. kranky kritter Says:

    When the wrangling was over, it passed unanimously. Period.

    IMO, complaining about partisan obstruction under such circumstances is at best extraordinarily petty. It suggests that there is no possible circumstance in which the complainer would fail to accuse the other side of harmful partisanship.

    Clearly that makes such a complainer a really big part of the problem of partisanship.

  24. Jim S Says:

    Angry Bear had a post about automation causing permanent structural unemployment. I think it is probably on course to do even more displacement of workers. Of course almost no one wants an honest discussion of the possibility. Most would rather think that it will all work out somehow while being completely incapable of providing an answer when asked how. Remember, the real total when adding the official unemployment number to discouraged workers and to the underemployed is 17.5%.

  25. Unemeployed Says:

    Now, it seems to be a mess for this extension to reach those that need it. I’m hearing tons of reports that unemployment offices are confused on who actually qualifies for it.

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