Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Unemployment Tops 10% in 15 States, D.C.

Unemployment Tops 10% in 15 States, D.C.

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Unemployment topped 10 percent in 15 states and the District of Columbia last month, according to federal data released Friday. The rate in Michigan surpassed 15 percent, the first time any state hit that mark since 1984.

The Federal Reserve this week projected that the national unemployment rate, currently at a 26-year high of 9.5 percent, will pass 10 percent by the end of the year. Most Fed policymakers said it could take "five or six years" for the economy and the labor market to get back on a path of long-term health. To get there, consumers must return to a regular spending groove and housing prices need to start rising again.

Home to the nation's struggling auto makers, Michigan has been clobbered by lost factory jobs. Its jobless rate of 15.2 percent in June was the highest in the country.

Still, the U.S. Labor Department said it's the first time in 25 years that any state has suffered an unemployment rate of at least 15 percent. In 1984, it was West Virginia.

The state unemployment report underscores the damage that the longest recession since World War II has inflicted on companies, workers and communities.

The other 14 states where unemployment topped 10 percent last month were: Alabama, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Tennessee.

In May, the jobless rate topped 10 percent in 13 states and the District of Columbia. Alabama and Georgia joined the list in June.

While Michigan's rate was the highest in the country in June, the record-high for the state was 16.9 percent in November 1982.

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