Unemployment rate jumps before midterm elections

The Labor Department reported on Friday that the U.


The Labor Department reported on Friday that the U.S. unemployment rate remained at 9.6 percent in September. However, according to a recent Gallup poll, it is estimated that unemployment increased to 10.1 percent in September—up dramatically from 9.3 percent in August and 8.9 percent in July. The majority of this increase came during the second half of this month and will unlikely be picked up in the Labor Department’s Friday report.  

The Washington Independent reported that private employers added 64,000 workers in September, which is positive growth but not enough to impact the unemployment rate. The total number of unemployed declined slightly but not significantly from last month’s 14.9 million. The number of individuals out of work for more than six months fell from 6.2 million to 6.1 million—41.7 percent of workers. The number of long-term unemployed workers fell to 640,000, since it hit a high of 6.8 million in May.  

In August, private employers added 67,000 new jobs. The economy needs to add about 125,000 jobs a month to put new entrants on the labor market. In order to return to full employment in five years, the economy needs to add 300,000 jobs a month, every month. Since December, 2009, the private sector has added 827,000 – an average of 91,000 a month.  

This is the last major job’s report before the November midterm elections. The numbers reflect both job losses in the government and employers’ unwillingness to hire. Overall, the economy shed 95,000 nonfarm jobs in September than in August—including 77,000 from the census and 76,000 from local government, many of whom were teachers and school staff.  

Economist fear most of those workers have left the labor market rather than find work, which is unwelcoming news for Democrats. The Hill reports that the constant negative news about jobs is hurting Democratic proposals ahead of midterm elections where Republicans hope to gain majority in the House and Senate.  

On Friday, Republicans seized the opportunity to capitalize on the report as a result of the White House’s economic policies ahead of the election.  

Michael Steele, the Republican National committee chairman, said the American people will go to polls in less than one month and reject the administration’s handling of the economy.  

Speaking at a rally in Maryland on Thursday, President Obama stressed that the economy is growing and the private sector is creating jobs. However, people are becoming restless, especially among the middle class.  

According to the New York Times, the recovery that began in June, 2009 has slowed down. This raises concern about the long-term slog the country will have to face – the longest economic downturn since the Great Depression.  

The New York Times article also reported that since the House adjourned last week, Congress is stuck in a partisan stalemate ahead of the November elections. However, Federal Reserve Officials want to take more unconventional monetary policy measures to encourage hiring and ward off inflation. Many expect the Fed to act at its next meeting, which coincides with the Congressional midterm elections.  

This is the last monthly report where the 2010 Census will have an impact on the employment rate. In the spring, the temporary hires briefly stimulated the employment sector, but since those workers were let go, employment figures have returned to their pre-census levels. This could put Democrats in a tougher position than they bargained for.  

Carmen Singleton is an intern at C&E.


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