Job Numbers Are Out: Unemployment rate reaches 8.1%


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released an update today on where the job market stands.  Employers cut another 651,000 jobs from payrolls in February pushing the nation’s unemployment rate to 8.1 percent – a rate not seen since 1983.  According to a mention in the Wall Street Journal, some economists think it could hit 10% by the end of next year. 

In addition, the economy has shed 4.4 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007, with almost half of those losses occurring in the last three months alone. Unemployment is lasting much longer. As of last month, 2.9 million people were unemployed more than six months, up from just 1.3 million at the start of the recession. And based on a CNN report “That’s the largest six-month job loss since the end of World War II.” 

Per the BLS, here are the highs and lows by industry: 

Highs

  • Health care payrolls rose 26,900
  • The government added 9,000 jobs
  • The average workweek was unchanged at 33.3 hours

Lows

  • For many industries including manufacturing, construction, business services and leisure, the jobless rate is already in double digits
  • Hiring last month in goods-producing industries fell by 276,000. Within this group, manufacturing firms cut 168,000 jobs bringing the total since the recession began to 1.3 million
  • Construction employment was down 104,000 last month. The unemployment rate in that sector is now 21.4%, almost double where it was this time last year
  • Service-sector employment tumbled 375,000
  • Business and professional services companies shed 180,000 jobs, the fourth-straight six-figure loss
  • Financial-sector payrolls were down 44,000.
  • Retail trade cut almost 40,000 jobs
  • Leisure and hospitality businesses shed 33,000
  • Temporary employment, a leading indicator of future job prospects, fell by almost 80,000

If you have been recently laid off, check out advice from Glassdoor.com’s  career and workplace expert Rusty Rueff on how to get the most from severance and address some of the typical F.E.A.R.s that can result:

Or if you are an employer trying to navigate through these tough times, Rusty – who has run global HR departments – offers some advice on how to handle job cuts:

So regardless of your current employment status, now is the time for more information and a whole lot of support.  There are millions of people out there looking for work and we can all offer some help to those trying to find their next job by sharing information about our own past or current work experiences and compensation.

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