Scary Week for Work: U.S. Loses Jobs, Senate Fails to Extend Unemployment Benefits

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The Labor Department reported today that the U.S. economy suffered a loss of 125,000 jobs in June, mostly temporary census jobs, the first such loss this year. The department also reported that the unemployment rate declined from 9.7% to 9.5% -- but according to the New York Times, "This decline came only because the nation’s labor force shrank by 652,000 jobs," meaning fewer people were actively looking for work.

Forbes.com reports:

"Among the marginally attached, 1.2 million Americans were considered discouraged workers, an increase of 414,000 from a year earlier. Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4 million persons marginally attached to the labor force had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives voted yesterday to extend unemployment benefits to millions of unemployed workers -- but the Senate adjourned for a weeklong Independence Day break without passing a similar measure, which Republicans filibustered. The Senate isn't scheduled to take up the measure again until the middle of July.

The Associated Press reports,

A little more than 1.3 million people have already lost benefits since the last extension ran out at the end of May, according to the Labor Department. By the end of the week, the number will jump to 1.7 million. By the end of July, it would top 3 million.

According to CNN Money, the bill would extend the deadline to claim unemployment benefits to the end of November, and would issue retroactive payment to people whose claims expired in May.

Unemployed Georgia resident Debra Rousey received notice that this week's check would be her last. Rousey told Laura Basset of the Huffington Post,

"I'm desperate and devastated. I didn't get any warning. I was barely making ends meet on $330 a week, trying to diaper my grandchild and put food on the table for the four people I support. What do I do now? How am I going to make rent next month? I keep thinking, 'If I end up in a cardboard box, can I find one big enough for everybody, or do I have to send my son to live with someone else?'"

Talking about the economic statistics today, President Obama focused on the positive: "Make no mistake -- we are headed in the right direction. But . . . we're not headed there fast enough for a lot of Americans. We're not headed there fast enough for me, either."

According to the New York Times:

Signs of strength could be spotted. Although quite weak by historic standards, the 83,000 private-sector jobs created in June more than doubled the count in May. And in the first six months of last year, the nation lost 3.7 million private-sector jobs; during the first six months of this year it gained 590,000. Manufacturing continued a modest revival, as manufacturers added 9,000 jobs after hiring 32,000 in May.

Amusement, gambling and recreation businesses added 28,000, as one might expect coming into the summer. Health care inched up 9,000, for a 12-month gain of 217,000 jobs. And professional and business firms continued to add temporary workers, with 21,000 more last month. In past recessions, such hiring often was seen as a precursor to permanent hires.

More Bloggers on the Economy and Unemployment

Are you optimistic about the economy, or depressed? Or are you sticking your fingers in your ears and saying "LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU?" Has your unemployment claim run out? Tell us in the comments.

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