Jobless numbers drop slightly - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Jobless numbers drop slightly

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WASHINGTON. - Employers throttled back on layoffs in July, cutting just 247,000 jobs, the fewest in a year and the unemployment rate dipped to 9.4 percent. It was a better than expected showing that offered a strong signal that the recession is finally ending.

The Labor Department's report was better than many analysts were expecting. They were forecasting job losses to slow to around 320,000 and the unemployment rate to tick up to 9.6 percent, from 9.5 percent in June.

If laid-off workers who have given up looking for new jobs or have settled for part-time work are included the unemployment rate would have been 16.3 percent.

Stock futures moved sharply higher after this morning's report.

Analysts say the numbers show job loss declines in both blue-collar and white-collar sectors and a boost in workers' hours.

"The work week, the average workweek which is a leading economic indicator improved and I think we are in economic recovery," says Wells Fargo Chief Economist John Silvia.

But any recovery could still take years.

Since the start of the recession in December 2007, more than 6.7 million Americans have lost their jobs.

At a campaign rally in Virginia Thursday night, President Obama told the crowd the nation still has a lot of work to do, but says there is evidence his administration's plans are working to clean up a mess decades in the making.

"We're losing jobs at half rate of beginning of this year. Our financial system is no longer on verge of collapse. Housing prices are up for first time in 3 years. So we may just be seeing the beginning of the end of this recession," says President Obama.

Republicans called it a premature victory lap with millions of Americans still out of work and the country faced with a record budget deficit of 1.3 trillion dollars.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis says only one third of the stimulus money has gone out so far and more projects will be put into effect in the coming months.

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