Unemployment rises to 8.2% in May


Job seekers line-up to give their resumes to a representative of an employment agency at a job fair at a Holiday Inn on April 18, 2012 in New York City. The number of people applying for unemployment benefits fell more than expected in the ending on April 28, 2012, according to the Labor Department.


Spencer Platt

The unemployment rate rose in May to 8.2 percent, according to figures released by the Labor Department on Friday.

Employers only created 69,000 jobs in May, the fewest in a year, according to the Associated Press.

The increase in the unemployment rate is the first increase in 11 months. The Labor Department said the economy had created fewer jobs than estimated in the previous two months, revising the figures down to 49,000 fewer jobs created.

Economists has expected 150,000 new jobs to be created and for the unemployment rate to remain steady, said ABC News. A healthy economy, according to economists, must create 200,000 jobs a month and maintain an unemployment rate below 6 percent, numbers which the US hasn't seen since before the financial meltdown.

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The U6, a measure of unemployment that takes into account both job seekers and those working part-time jobs who want to work full-time jobs, rose from 14.5 percent in April to 14.8 percent in May, said the Guardian.

The chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Alan B. Krueger, said, "Problems in the job market were long in the making and will not be solved overnight. The economy lost jobs for 25 straight months beginning in February 2008, and over 8m jobs were lost as a result of the Great Recession. We are still fighting back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression," reported the Guardian.

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The number of long-term unemployed, counting those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more, also increased from 5.1 million to 5.4 million, according to CNBC.

Most of the jobs were created in the service sector, around 84,000, while manufacturing added 12,000. Government cut around 13,000 jobs, including 5,000 at the federal level, while private payrolls rose by 82,000, CNBC reported. Construction dropped 28,000 from last month and hospitality was down 9,000 jobs from April.

The jobs report will likely have political repercussions, as Mitt Romney, who clinched the Republican presidential nomination this week, will use it to criticize President Obama's track record with the economy and job creation.

The Telegraph noted that no president since the Great Depression has sought re-election with unemployment numbers as high as this, and incumbents have lost when unemployment was on the rise in the past.