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Unemployment Rate Edges Up to 9.9 Percent on Labor Force Growth

This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released a major report on April’s jobs numbers. The unemployment rate rose from 9.7 percent in March to 9.9 percent in April, but this was largely because the improving economic environment encouraged workers to rejoin the labor force, which includes both employed and unemployed workers. The labor force increased by 805,000 people in April alone. Employers added 290,000 to their payrolls last month — the most in four years.

The report is largely positive, if it does underscore the need for much bolstered job growth. One sour note: The number of long-term unemployed — people who have been out of work for more than six months — trended up to 6.7 million. Nearly 46 percent of out-of-work Americans have been unemployed for six months or more. And the percentage of unemployed and underemployed workers, the U6 measure sometimes called the “real unemployment rate,” tracked up to 17.1 percent.

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