October Unemployment Surges to 5.4%

November 2, 2001 (PLANSPONSOR.com) -The US unemployment rate increased by a staggering 0.5%, reaching 5.4% in October, a month that saw the economy losing 415,000 jobs, according to the Department of Labor.

October’s unemployment figure, the highest since December 1996, came in above Wall Street’s heightened expectations of 5.2% in the wake of the September terrorist attacks.

The month’s increase in job losses, up from 213,000 in September, was the sharpest monthly increase since May 1980, when payrolls where trimmed by 464,000. Analysts had only expected a loss of 289,000 jobs.

The report follows the release of government’s quarterly report on gross domestic product, which saw output shrink by 0.4% in the third quarter of the year.

Should output shrink in the final quarter of the year, the economy would officially be in recession.