Joblessness increases

Federal figures show the unemployment rate is up

As legislators on Capitol Hill wrangle over the issue of extending unemployment benefits to the jobless, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently announced that the nation’s unemployment rate went up to 9.8 percent in November, despite an increase in employment in the health-care sector and in temporary-help positions. A decrease in retail jobs across the country appears to be the key factor in the increased joblessness, which is up from a rate of 9.6 percent in each of the previous three months. Unemployment rates for adult men, adult women, whites and Hispanics all rose in November, while the rate for teenagers actually decreased by 2.5 percent. The BLS report also stated that the number of “discouraged workers”—unemployed persons no longer looking for work because they do not believe there are jobs available—has increased from a year earlier by 421,000 to 1.3 million.