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November 2009
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U.S. Economy: Unemployment Rate Jumps to 26-Year High

The unemployment rate in the U.S. jumped to 10.2 percent in October, the highest level since 1983, casting a pall over the prospects for a sustained recovery and risking further erosion of President Barack Obama’s popularity.

Payrolls fell by 190,000 last month, more than forecast by economists, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. The jobless rate rose from 9.8 percent in September. Factory payrolls dropped by the most in four months, and the average workweek held at a record low.

Treasury two-year notes rose on bets the Federal Reserve is more likely to maintain its pledge to keep interest rates near zero. The figures prompted Obama, who signed a bill today extending jobless benefits, to promise fresh measures to help put some of the 15.7 million unemployed Americans back to work.

Payrolls were forecast to drop 175,000 after an initially reported 263,000 decline for September, according to the median estimate of 84 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The jobless rate was projected to rise to 9.9 percent.

Obama signed into law a measure extending a tax credit of up to $8,000 for homebuyers and benefits for unemployed workers, and he promised to pursue further measures to create jobs.

“My economic team is looking at ideas such as additional investments in our aging roads and bridges, incentives to encourage families and business to make buildings more energy efficient,” additional tax cuts, and more steps to ease the flow of credit to small business and promote exports, he said today at the White House.

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