Employers cut 62,000 jobs in June

June was the sixth straight month of job losses as employers shed 62,000 workers, according to USA Today.

The unemployment rate remained at 5.5 percent, but 52,000 more jobs were lost in April and May than originally estimated. Job losses so far this year total 438,000—an average of 73,000 per month.

"During the past year, the number of unemployed has increased by 1.5 million to 8.5 million, and the unemployment rate has increased by one percentage point to 5.5 percent," says Steven Wood, chief economist for Insight Economics, Danville, Calif. "In the post World War II period, every time the employment rate has jumped by a full percentage point in the course of a year, the economy has slipped into recession."

Employment in the construction sector fell by 43,000 in June and is down 528,000 since its peak in September 2006. The Hispanic unemployment rate jumped to 7.7 percent in June compared with 5.5 percent a year ago.

In addition, employment in the manufacturing sector fell by 33,000 in June; that sector has lost 353,000 jobs during the past year even though the declining dollar has made U.S. exports more competitive. The service sector also declined in June after two months of growth.

The $152 billion stimulus package passed by Congress earlier this year is expected to bring positive economic growth during the second quarter, but increased consumer spending most likely will be temporary. The need for another economic stimulus package may be addressed in Congress.

Meanwhile, President Bush has signed a spending bill that includes additional unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. The number of unemployed people out of work for six months or more was 18.4 percent in June, up from 15.2 percent a year ago.

Date : 7/8/2008