Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Job losses in US worse than last two recessions: WSJ

The labour market in the US is at its worst since the previous two recessions of 2001 and early 1990s, with the number of people jobless fo
r 27 weeks or more reaching two million in September, which could chill consumer spending and delay recovery from the economic downturn.

According to new job data from the Labour Department, the two million who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more is 21 per cent of the total unemployed, and the rate is approaching the prior peaks of about 23 percent in 2003 and 1992, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The prospects of the job seekers become worse as layoffs spread beyond financial, home-building and automobile industries. In September, over 2,000 mass layoffs - in which at least 50 people were fired at once - by companies were reported, more than at any time since September 2001.

While the unemployment rate is at a five-year high of 6.1 per cent, a broader measure of economic weakness that includes people who have stopped looking for work or whose hours have been cut to part-time is 11 percent - the highest in 15 years.

What worries many economists, the Journal said, is that labour markets usually reach their bottom after a recession has ended. During the so-called "jobless recovery" following the 2001 recession, jobs continued to be shed after it was officially declared over. But the current weakness comes as the country heads into a recession that is now forecast to be deeper and longer than previously thought.

As many may remain jobless for some time, their ability to pay mortgage and credit card bills is bound to suffer, leading to more foreclosures, chill consumer spending and delay recovery from the recession.

Source: EconomicTimes

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