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July 06, 2001
Jobless Rate Shows Small Increase
The
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unemployment rate climbed only slightly in June, with the actual number of jobs lost by the economy during the month hitting 114,000, according to statistics released by the government on Friday.

From 4.4 percent in May, the jobless rate went to 4.5 percent in June, the Labor Department said in its monthly unemployment report.

The department noted that in each of the past three months, the jobless rate has been either 4.4 or 4.5 percent; its most recent low was 3.9 percent in October 2000. The rates for all the major demographic groups - adult men (4 percent), adult women (3.8 percent), teenagers (14.3 percent), whites (4 percent), blacks (8.4 percent), and Hispanics (6.6 percent) - showed "little or no change over the month," it added.

Economists told the Reuters news agency that the modest increase in the overall employment rate had more to do with disheartened workers leaving the labor force than with any resilience in the economy. They cited the lack of change in another statistic - the average hours worked - as a sign that growth is anemic.

The average workweek in June was 34.3 hours, the Labor Department said.

And just as they did in May, wages grew 0.3 percent in June, to an average of $14.29 an hour.

The number of people who worked part-time for economic reasons increased by 266,000, to 3.6 million. "This was about half a million more than a year earlier," the Labor Department said. "These persons indicated that they would like to work full time but worked part time because their hours had been cut back or they were unable to find a full-time job."

In June, 7.3 million people held more than one job. These multiple jobholders represented 5.4 percent of the employed, the same as a year earlier.

While the manufacturing sector again did poorly in June, the services sector took an uncharacteristic hit as well.

"Services employment was flat in June and, for the first time in more than four decades, the industry failed to add jobs over the quarter," the department remarked.

Help supply services employment fell in June for the ninth consecutive month. During that time the industry has lost a total of 379,000 jobs. Other services industries that lost jobs in June included miscellaneous business services (which includes telemarketing and convention arranging), hotels and motels (which includes campgrounds and RV parks), and amusement and recreation services.

Among the few bright spots in the services sector: Health services continued its strong growth, , while engineering and management services and computer services picked up their pace of job growth. Retail trade and state and local government also continued to add jobs.

The report revised employment data for May to show that 8,000 jobs were added outside the farm sector that month - considerably sunnier news than the 19,000 job losses recorded when Labor released the May figures last month.

In another revision, the department also said that the economy shed 165,000 jobs in April - better than the previously reported 182,000 job cuts.


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