The U.S. economy lost 651,000 jobs in February, the fourth month in a row where job losses were near or above 600,000 and the unemployment rate climbed to 8.1%, the highest rate in over 25 years.
Of the 4.4 million jobs lost since the recession began in December 2007, more than half vanished in the last four months. Experts believe that our unemployment rate will get close to 9% in 2010 while some say it might be closer to 10%. The Federal Reserve doesn’t expect the unemployment rate to fall below 7% until 2011.
Job losses are prevalent across most businesses with only education and health services reporting job growth.
According to a survey of businesses 660,000 jobs were lost in the private-sector in February. Goods-producing industries (i.e. car dealerships, department stores, coffee shops — businesses that provide tangible things that you can see, feel, touch or walk out of the store with) lost 276,000 jobs, while services (i.e. CPAs, Electricians, Nail Salons/Hair stylists/Spas, Dog Groomers — businesses that provide services) lost 375,000 jobs. Construction employment fell by 104,000 in February making it a total of 904,000 jobs lost in the construction industry since the recession began.
The unemployment rate for African-Americans rose to 13.4% in February, which is the highest rate it’s been since December 1993. Unemployment of young people and students rose to 21.6% because young people and students are now competing with unemployed adults for the same jobs.
Many Americans who still have jobs are under employed working an average workweek of 33.3 hours for the third straight month instead of 40 hours which is considered full-time.
The number of workers experiencing long spells of joblessness — defined by the government as 27 weeks (almost 7 months) without work — has risen to 2.9 million in February, up 1.6 million since the start of the recession in December 2007.
The number of persons working part-time who would rather be working full time jumped by 787,000 in February to reach 8.6 million. This group of workers has risen by nearly 4 million since the recession began and these workers are most likely not to have health insurance.