Friday (un)employment snapshot

unemployment line. 1930's

National unemployment rate hits 10.2%. Economists had forecast an increase to 9.9%.

Since December 2007, employers have shed 8.2 million jobs, sending the unemployment rate up 5.3 percentage points. The ratio of job cuts to losses in gross domestic product, or GDP, in this recession has surpassed the historical norm.

Recovery to pre-recession levels in job market not expected until 2012 to 2013.

Employers keep cutting hours, if not jobs. Average work week is now 33 hours, a record low … and its still declining.

A record 9.2 million people that have jobs are working part-time because their hours have been cut or they can’t find full-time work. That’s more than doubled since the start of a recession.

Structural changes in automobiles, construction, and finance means many of the jobs shed “will not be coming back.”

There’s a real mismatch between the unemployed people out there compared to what job openings are available,” said John Silvia, chief economist with Wells Fargo Securities.

Ongoing cuts indicate that the U.S. job market could threaten economic recovery, some economists say. “This recovery is shaping up to be a jobless one, just like the last two,” says Paul Ashworth, an economist with Capital Economics in Ontario. “Our concern is that, unlike the last recovery, with credit still tight, households aren’t going to be able to smooth their consumption using credit until the labor market eventually strengthens.”

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