Unemployment rate highest since 1983

Job seekers line up before dawn to register at a community employment center in Pasadena, Calif.


Bill Radke: President Barack Obama is expected to talk about double-digit unemployment later this morning. The official unemployment rate hit 10.2 percent in October, with employers cutting almost 200,000 more jobs. Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman has our story.

Mitchell Hartman: Every month for nearly two years now, employers have been cutting their payrolls. There hasn't been such a sustained period of job destruction since the 1940s.

In October, we lost 190,000 jobs. And they were, more or less, across the board: construction, manufacturing, retail, hospitality. Only professional services and temp work were up. That may signal businesses are getting ready to start hiring full-timers in coming months, says Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight.

NIGEL GAULT: Things will probably be gradually improving and then the government's going to hire a lot of people for the census so that's probably going to be enough to just push us over the top.

To put a rough timeline on that, Gault predicts we'll keep losing jobs until around April of next year. Then the economy finally edges into job-creation territory.

But, we can also look forward to persistently high unemployment -- above 10 percent -- for a while longer, as businesses hold back on hiring, with so much economic uncertainty still on the horizon.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.


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