Job seekers gather at the Los Angeles Mission for the 7th annual Employment and Training
Collaborative of Hope Central Career Fair, Thursday, June 5, 2008 (AP).

Unemployment Shows Biggest Jump in a Generation

June 06, 2008 03:57 PM
by Cara McDonough
The jobless rate jumped to 5.5 percent in May, up from 5 percent in April—the largest one-month swing since 1986.

30-Second Summary

The new numbers “stunned economists,” who expected a more modest rise in the unemployment rate, to 5.1 percent, The Washington Post reports.

The Labor Department stated that employers cut 49,000 more jobs in May, and that the unemployment level rose among almost all groups: men, women, teenagers, whites and blacks. The number for Hispanics was unchanged, and it dropped slightly among Asians.

“Certainly this isn’t a report that we wanted to see today,” White House deputy press secretary Scott Stanzel said.

The higher-than-expected numbers indicate that the U.S. economy continues to struggle in the midst of a housing and credit crisis that some believe threatens to lead the country into a recession, if it hasn’t already.

The report also drew quick comments from the two leading presidential candidates, who used the topic to lash out at each other.

“The wrong change for our country would be an economic agenda based upon the policies of the past that advocate higher taxes, bigger government, government-run health care and greater isolationism. … We cannot afford to go backward as Senator Obama advocates,” Republican John McCain said.

Democratic candidate Barack Obama said, “This is a reminder that working families continue to bear the brunt of the failed Bush economic policies that John McCain wants to continue for another four years.”

Headline Links: Unemployment rate grows

Background: A potential recession and unemployment rates this year

Reaction: John McCain and Barack Obama

Reference: Guide to the U.S. economy


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