Unemployment increased in 44 states last month, proving that the rise in joblessness is being felt by everyone, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
Alabama and Alaska were hit the hardest, both registering a 0.5 percent increase in jobless claims, according to data released on Friday by the Labor Department. Meanwhile, California and Michigan led the 31 states that experienced payroll increases.
“Across the nation, the unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent in July, a five-month high, even as employment increased by the most since February,” Bloomberg reports.
“Faster hiring is needed to spur consumer spending, which accounts for about 70 percent of the economy, and to help reduce elevated joblessness that remains a concern for Federal Reserve policy makers,” the report adds.
But -- but -- what about growing payrolls?
The gains are “probably not enough to make really significant sort of progress on improving unemployment rates,” Jeremy Lawson, senior U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York, told Bloomberg. “Firms are waiting on more clarity as to what general direction things are headed.”
That’s funny. That’s exactly what former New Hampshire governor and Romney surrogate John Sununu said on CNBC’s ‘Squawk Box” yesterday.
“Unemployment jumped to 8.3 percent in Alabama from 7.8 percent in June, and climbed to 7.7 percent in Alaska from 7.2 percent,” Bloomberg adds. “Nevada, where the rate rose to 12 percent from 11.6 percent, remained the state with the highest level of joblessness in the country.”
Which states have been hit the hardest? Rhode Island (10.8 percent) and California (10.7 percent). Which state has the lowest rate? It's still North Dakota (although it's rate increased from 2.9 to three percent).
“New Jersey’s jobless rate jumped to a 35-year high of 9.8 percent in July from 9.6 percent in June. The state lost 12,000 positions, including cuts in manufacturing, construction, and professional and business services, according to figures released by New Jersey officials yesterday,” the report continues.
“Unemployment in New York rose to 9.1 percent, the highest since 1983, and payrolls dropped by 3,700 workers,” it adds.
But do you know where the majority of cutbacks have been happening in New York? They’re happening at financial firms.
“Morgan Stanley has said its headcount will drop by about 700 in the second half, bringing total 2012 reductions to 4,000. Credit Suisse Group AG planned to eliminate 138 positions in New York starting this month. Deutsche Bank AG will cut about 1,900 jobs by year-end, mostly outside Germany,” Bloomberg reports.
However, before you get too down, there is a sliver of hope attached to the report: “Including the July gain, the U.S. has recovered 4 million of the 8.8 million jobs lost as a result of the 18-month recession that ended in June 2009.”
But that “sliver of hope” kind of falls apart when you realize unemployment has been above 8 percent for 42 consecutive months, which, as you know, is the longest it has been at that level since we won World War II.
“Growth in employment has been slow in recent months, and the unemployment rate remains elevated,” Fed policy makers said in a statement after a meeting held earlier this month.
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Front page photo source: The AP.