July 2nd, 2009
01:22 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Unemployment rate hits 9.5%

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Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

We got a wave of jobs data this morning ahead of the long holiday weekend – and most of it troubling as the labor market took a step backwards last month.

Employers trimmed 467,000 jobs from their payrolls in June, compared with a revised loss of 322,000 jobs in May. This was the first time in four months that the number of jobs lost rose from the prior month.

The unemployment rate, meanwhile, rose for the ninth straight month - climbing to 9.5% from 9.4% and hitting another 26-year high. But that was actually better than expectations.

However, the report contained even more discouraging data.

The average hourly work week fell to 33 hours in May, the lowest it's been since the Labor Department started keeping records in 1964. That translates into smaller paychecks for workers.

And the number of people out of work for six months or more climbed to nearly 4.4 million - a record high.

The only piece of good news on the labor market came from a separate report showing the tally of newly laid-off workers filing for unemployment insurance dropped last week, a sign job cuts are easing.

Initial claims for jobless benefits fell by 16,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 614,000.

And the number of Americans continuing to receive unemployment insurance for one week or more dropped by 53,000 to 6.7 million, defying analysts' expectations of a small rise.

Optimism about the economy stalls

A new national poll indicates that nearly half of all Americans think the economy has stabilized, but only one in eight believes that a recovery has started.

Four in 10 questioned in the CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released today think the country is still in an economic downturn.

"Although polls in recent months have shown some signs of growing optimism, that appears to have stalled," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In January, 50% said the economy was in very poor shape; that figure dropped to 37% in April, but now it has risen slightly, to 41%."

"The prevailing view? We're in a stall," said CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider.

The poll does suggest that when it comes to an economic recovery, Americans agree with President Barack Obama. Discussing the economy last week at a news conference at the White House, Obama said, "We're still not at actual recovery yet. So I anticipate that this is going to be a difficult, difficult year."

Gas prices keep falling ahead of holiday

Gas prices dropped 1-tenth of a cent overnight to $2.629. That’s the 11th straight day of declines.

In the last 11 days the average price has decreased 6.4 cents, or 2.3 percent. The average price of a gallon of gas is also down $1.485, or 36 percent, from the record high price of $4.114 that AAA reported on July 17, 2008.

The highest gas prices are in Hawaii ($3.202). The cheapest are in Missouri ($2.421).

Manhattan home prices plunge

The housing bust has finally clobbered super-pricey Manhattan home prices.

Reports released Thursday by four major New York brokers show that prices cratered during the three months that ended June 30.

Prices fell between 13% and 19% compared with the same quarter last year. The brokers found median prices that ranged from $795,000 to $849,000.

The decline shows a marked turn from the first quarter of 2009, when the year-over-year change in median home prices ranged from a loss of 2% to a gain of 6%.

Another change in the recent period: More people are buying.

The number of sales picked up by more than 28% in the second quarter, due to what the CEO of one real estate brokerage firm called “value-based shopping” by buyers.

Of course, in Manhattan "value" means studio prices that go for a median of $400,000 and one-bedrooms that fetch $650,000.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Finance • Gas Prices • Housing Market • Job Market
soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Sabrina In Las Vegas

    Hiring ahead of the supposed June Jump that landed flat....so they were laid off.

    July 2, 2009 at 11:47 pm |
  2. brenda white

    I live in s.c and i need information on what i can do to get my home refinced of out of the "arm" that my husband and i are tied up in. i understand that the president had made some provision for that in the stimiuls plan.

    July 2, 2009 at 11:11 pm |
  3. Annie Kate

    If the job creation doesn't start up soon there is going to be no one that can afford to buy anything. I know I'm putting off a couple of purchases until I'm more sure of my income flow. I don't want to improve the house and then have to sell it because I lost my income when those improvement costs would probably buy me a few more months in the house while I look for a job. I keep remembering in the 80s that we had a recovery of a recession but it was a "jobless" recovery. I hope we aren't going to experience that again.

    July 2, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  4. RLWellman

    Wait until the Cap and Trade Bill effects take over. We will lose the rest of our manufacturing jobs in this country. They will be moving to other countries where the rules and regulations aren't as strict.

    I'm sure glad global warming is happening, because I'm freezing in my area of the country. I can't wait until the Government tells me how high I can turn my thermostat to. I will feel so much better when they have more control over my life and tell me which kind of car to buy. It just gives me that warm fuzzy feeling all over.

    I just hope the rest of the country feels as glad as I do about the Government's role in controlling us more and more each day. I feel better knowing the Government tells us what we can or can't do, but they don't have to follow the same rules. It's always soothing to hear people say, "The Governments doing the best job they can do".

    July 2, 2009 at 6:18 pm |
  5. Lesley Anne

    It's unfortunate that corporations enjoying Bush-era tax breaks are shipping jobs overseas instead of employing Americans at home. Does anyone care how many jobs that would have created here?

    July 2, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  6. Sabrina in Las Vegas

    I think employers thought that June 2009 would start the rebound so they fired people ahead of that to handle it and when it didn't arrive they had to reduce the numbers back down...to live within their means so they can continue to survive for the long haul. Someone should explain that to my boss.

    July 2, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  7. Larry

    Is the WH not hiring anymore?

    July 2, 2009 at 2:56 pm |
  8. Melissa

    I've said it before and I'll say it again. The economy is currently like a cork bouncing in water. Its going to go up and down for a while before it settles. But its not in a full fledged desperate plunge like it was when Bush took office and Obama took over.

    July 2, 2009 at 2:41 pm |
  9. Ruby Coria LA., CA.

    The Gov. Mark S. from S.C. needs to join us in the unemployment line! He should had been there a week ago! Who missed the memo?! Fire them too, the memo said a NO Show, NO Call, you get FIRE! not now, but Yesterday! What happen? His Fire!
    California is going down the drain?, who cares, we don't have EQUAL RIGHTS! What a Joke, all of it.. Ca. the Gov. Mark.... Jokes!

    July 2, 2009 at 2:31 pm |