WASHINGTON – The unemployment rate has hit double digits for the first time since 1983 – and is likely to go higher.
The 10.2 percent jobless rate for October shows how weak the economy remains even though it is growing. The rising jobless rate could threaten the recovery if it saps consumers’ confidence and makes them more cautious about spending as the holiday season approaches.
The October unemployment rate – reflecting nearly 16 million jobless people – jumped from 9.8 percent in September, the Labor Department said Friday. The job losses occurred across most industries, from manufacturing and construction to retail and financial.
The jump in the unemployment rate was driven up by a large drop in the number of people who describe themselves as self-employed, as well as the number of teenagers who have jobs. The unemployment rate for teenagers in the labor force soared to 27.6%, up 1.8 percentage points and hitting a third straight record high.
Total overall for October, 10.2% compared to September 2009, 9.8%
Black overall numbers, 15.7% compared to September 2009, 15.4%
Hispanic overall, 13.1%
Total overall teen number, 27.6%
Black teen number, male and female, 16-19, 41.3 %
Black women 20 and over, 12.4%
Black men 20 and over, 17.1%
Christina Romer the head White House Council of Economic Advisors was asked about the latest numbers outside of the West Wing of the White House.