Unemployment Rate Hits Six-Year High

January 4, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - The unemployment situation deteriorated further in December, the unemployment rate rising to 5.8%, from a revised 5.6% in November, according to data released by the US Department of Labor (DoL).

The number of the unemployed continued to rise over the month, reaching 8.3 million, as more jobs were lost in manufacturing, transportation and trade.

Over the year, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 2.6 million, while the unemployment rate has risen by 1.8%, according to the DoL. The last time the nation’s unemployment rate stood at 5.8 percent was March 1995. It hit 5.9 percent in September 1994.

Figures from the DoL also show that the number of workers on US payrolls outside the farm sector fell a seasonally adjusted 124,000 in December after a 371,000 fall the previous month.

Temporary employment firms continued to lay off workers, cutting 55,000 positions in December. The industry has shed 688,000 jobs since September 2000, or 19 percent of its employment.

Overall, the proportion of the nation’s population holding a job in December slipped to 63%, compared with 64.5% a year ago.