US July jobless rate highest in 4 years

WASHINGTON - The U.S. unemployment rate climbed to 5.7 percent in July, its highest in more than four years as employers cut payrolls for a seventh month in a row, though less severely than predicted, according to a government report in Friday.

By (Reuters)

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Published: Fri 1 Aug 2008, 7:54 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 11:47 AM

The Labor Department said 51,000 non-farm jobs were eliminated in July, bringing losses for the year to 463,000. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected the 75,000 jobs to be cut last month but had forecast the unemployment rate would rise only to 5.6 percent.

The unemployment rate in June was 5.5 percent.

The department revised its estimates for job losses in each of May and June. It said 47,000 jobs were cut in May instead of 62,000 and 51,000 in June rather than 62,000 - a total 26,000 fewer jobs lost in the two months than previously thought.

The unexpectedly steep climb in the unemployment rate underlines how a continuing deterioration in housing markets continues to chill economic growth. The last time the jobless rate was higher was in March 2004 when it hit 5.8 percent.

Department officials said there were large rises in the jobless rate for 16-to-24-year-olds. In addition, the average workweek slipped to 33.6 hours, the lowest since November 2004, from 33.7 hours in June.

Job losses in July were widespread. The only major sectors showing any gains were government, hospitality, and education and health services. Construction industries shed another 22,000 employees and factories cut 35,000 jobs.

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