7 Nov 2009

US unemployment rate hits 26-year high

7:21 am on 7 November 2009

Latest unemployment figures for the United States are worse than expected, showing the rate rose in October to 10.2%, a new 26-year high.

The BBC reports not since April 1983 has the rate of unemployment in the US been so high, and nearly 16 million people cannot find work.

Since the recession began in December 2007, the number of unemployed has risen by 8.2 million, while the jobless rate has risen from 4.9%.

Part of the problem is that employers are still reluctant to hire. The one sliver of good news is that the rate at which they are laying people off is starting to slow down.

President Barack Obama is expected to sign into law on Friday a bill that will extend unemployment benefits by up to 20 weeks.

He has also pledged to cut taxes for businesses and extend tax credits for home buyers.