[QODLink]
Business
US unemployment hits surprise high
Fears over economic recovery as figures show jobless rate soaring to highest level in seven months.
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2010 23:47 GMT
 The figures are a blow to the US administration's hopes for an end to continuingly high unemployment [AFP]

The US unemployment rate has hit an unexpected seven-month high, prompting renewed fears about the country's economic recovery.

Unemployment rose to 9.8 per cent in November, according to figures from the US Labour Department on Friday.

The news sent the dollar tumbling and dealt a blow to the US administration's hopes for an end to the country's continuingly high unemployment.

The department's figures showed only 39,000 jobs were created in November. That is well below the 130,000 that had been predicted by economists and is far from enough to dent the unemployment rate.

The White House, which is under pressure to prove its economic policies are working, acknowledged the unemployment rate was "unacceptably high".

'Bumps in the road'

Massive government stimulus plans, while alleviating the worst of the downturn, have failed to bring unemployment levels into line with those seen over the last decade.

But Austan Goolsbee, one of the top economic advisers to Barack Obama, the US president, warned it was "important not to read too much into any one monthly report".

"Although the overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past year, there will surely continue to be bumps in the road ahead such as this," he said.

While the high rate of joblessness is a constant worry for the eight-plus million Americans who lost their jobs during the crisis, policymakers are increasingly concerned about how long the trend has persisted.

Long-term unemployed

Nearly 40 per cent of those unemployed have remained out of work for more than six months, and fears are growing that high unemployment rates may be more than a temporary result of the recession.

Eric Cantor, a Republican legislator in the House of Representatives, said: "Today's jobs report marks the 19th consecutive month in which unemployment has exceeded nine percent, an unacceptable result."

He also urged Congress to extend tax cuts put in place under George Bush, the former president.

Supporters argue the cuts will help spur the recovery, but critics say the US, already struggling with its deficit, can ill afford them.

Alongside tax cuts, debate has raged over unemployment benefit, with the White House warning that unless Congress extends unemployment benefit to the long-term unemployed, millions of Americans could see their incomes slashed.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Featured
Pro-Russia leaders' election in Ukraine's east shows bloody conflict is far from a peaceful resolution.
Critics challenge Canberra's move to refuse visas for West Africans in Ebola-besieged countries.
A key issue for Hispanics is the estimated 11.3 million immigrants in the US without papers who face deportation.
In 1970, only two mosques existed in the country, but now more than 200 offer sanctuary to Japan's Muslims.
Hundreds of the country's reporters eke out a living by finding news - then burying it for a price.