Sunday, January 10, 2010

Economy Still Bleeding Jobs

Crude prices edged higher to end the week, despite huge supplies and tens of thousands of lost jobs in the U.S. last month. Employers cut another 85,000 jobs last month, dashing hopes of a turnaround in employment, even as the U.S. economy grows.

Energy prices have rallied for weeks on some signs that manufacturing activity had picked in the U.S. and China, but again it was the falling dollar that inflated the price of crude Friday.

Crude and gasoline futures are up 15 percent since mid-December and prices at the pump this week are higher than at any point last year.

Prices are rising steadily even as the job picture grows worse.

With December's losses, there were 7.2 million fewer jobs than in December 2007, when the recession began. Although the unemployment rate was unchanged at 10% from November, that's only because many workers stopped looking for work and weren't counted in the numbers. A broader measure of unemployment, including those who have quit job hunting as well as those working part time because they can't find full-time work, remained about the same at 17.3% in December from 17.2% in November.

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