U.S. unemployment rates under President Bush have reached a 14-year high. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment climbed to 6.5 percent in October, as the country shed 240,000 jobs. U.S. unemployment rates under President Bush have certainly increased--for example, the unemployment rate for October 2007 was 4.7 percent. So far this year, the country has lost 1.2 million jobs, and over half of the decrease took place in just the last three months. Some suggest the situation could grow more bleak: Goldman Sachs projects the unemployment rate will reach 8.5 percent by the end of 2009. Another source I spoke with recently believes it could soar as high as 10 percent in the near future.
With U.S. unemployment rates under President Bush rising, there's more talk of the nation being caught in a recession. In a New York Times story, Stuart G. Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh, notes, “The economy is slipping deeper into a recessionary sinkhole that is getting broader. The layoffs are getting larger, and coming faster. We’re likely to see at least another six months of more jobs reports like this.” In a Wall Street Journal roundup of economists' reactions to the unemployment report, Joshua Shapiro of MFR Inc. says, "History tells that once the labor market weakens as much as it has in the past several months, job-shedding takes on a life of its own and tends to persist for a long while. We expect the employment data to be dreadful for many months to come and consequently for consumer spending to continue to decline."
The job losses were far-reaching: manufacturing lost 90,000 jobs, construction shed 49,000, professional and business services saw a decline of 51,000, and retail trade employment lost 38,000. Health care, however, added 26,000 jobs.
As the unemployment rate in America increases and President Bush's tenure draws to a close, all eyes are on President-elect Barack Obama and the Democratic Congress set to take the reins in Washington in January. Will the new leadership provide relief?